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September 11 took the normal out of my childhood memories

Every time I turn on the TV or radio or read a newspaper recently, I find some politician or community or civic leader urging America to get back to normal.  Well, having seen normal in America, I’m not so sure that is something to which we should necessarily aspire.

In case you don’t remember, before the attack on the twin towers, we’d spent the summer with our noses deep into Gary Condit’s smelly and somewhat suspect psyche.  So going back to normal may not really be all it’s cracked up to be.

As these thoughts wandered around my brain looking

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Don’t let terrorists win by terrifying us

I was in Barrow for a children’s hearing when the planes hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center. For the first time in my entire career as a GAL, I was happy to have the hearing as a diversion.  The alternative would have been to sit in front of the TV hour after hour, staring at the scenes of chaos and devastation visited on a city I know and love so well.

I was young in New York City.  I was just out of school, working my first job and feeling as though the world was mine and

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Ah food, glorious food

Ah food – glorious food.  Whether it is dried fish, raw whale or a delicate combination of spaghetti with a light crab sauce made from Maryland blue crabs, food is where the heart is for most of us.

Whether we are Eskimo or Irish, Italian or even Minnesotan, we all seem to have certain foods we react to in a totally irrational way.

These thoughts have been swirling in my mind for a number of reasons – and believe it or not, the subsistence debate is not really one of them.  These thoughts have more to do with walking down

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Legislature deaf to subsistence needs

As much as I have tried to avoid this whole issue, I guess I have no choice but to finally weigh in with my three cents on subsistence. I get three cents instead of two because some people have just so annoyed me recently with their statements and activities on subsistence that I feel they owe me an extra penny’s worth.

Let’s start with Governor Knowles. Generally I like the guy.  But if he calls for one more commission to meet on one more topic to reach one more consensus, I’m gong to wish the sixties had never happened so

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Mom’s screaming genes

In the five years or so immediately preceding my mother’s death, she engaged in an ongoing argument with my sister and me over her kitchen. The apartment she lived in had been built around the turn of the century.  Except for painting over the glass fronted cabinets because she didn’t want anyone to see all her stuff behind them, little renovation had been done in her kitchen in the intervening 100 years.

Oh sure, she’d replaced the wood burning stove.  And she put in a metal sink stand that was ugly the day she bought it.  But she still vented

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Cops take it on the chin for all of us

When I was the supervisor of the State Division of Family Services in Barrow back in the early 80s, it was a rule of thumb that social workers did not respond to after hour calls without a police officer escorting them.  So I was fairly unsympathetic when one of my social workers got punched in the nose while responding to a call. She had knocked on the door, a drunken parent had opened the door and the next thing the social worker knew, she was on the ground counting stars.

I believe my response to her cry for sympathy was,

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Mom’s sitting in heaven grinning

It was one of those days when I knew my mother was sitting in heaven grinning from ear to ear.  Since I’d never had children, she’d never personally been able to see retribution visited on me despite her many threats of “Wait till you have children of your own”. Now, from on high, she would get her chance.

I had taken my best young friend Greta out for a day of “girl stuff”. Since I’d never really been one to indulge in those activities when I was young, I depended on Greta to walk me through the technical details.

I

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Finally settling in to urban life

July 15 marks the first anniversary of my move to Anchorage. It has been a year of many changes.

I think it took me about six months to accept the fact that sugar free ice cream would always be available so that I didn’t have to buy four gallons at once.  It took even longer for me to accept that filling my car with gas did not mean incurring something similar to the national debt.

I no longer expect live dance to include mind-numbing MTV-like cuts from one move to another so that I can never feel the full flow

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Number One godchild graduates to much nostalgia

I recently attended the high school graduation of my No. 1 godchild.  It was a day about which we’d all long dreamed.

All signs indicated that she had completed her classes and assignments even if that took a couple of all-nighters on the part of her parents to achieve. Now the reward was at hand. She would walk down the carpeted path to a diploma, the key that would open the door to her future.

The ending of No. 1’s high school career had already had a rocky moment.  Her memories in her senior yearbook had been inadvertently omitted. But

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Dandelions are flowers too…and they taste delicious

When I lived in Barrow, fixing up my yard for spring meant removing all the debris that had accumulated over the winter and been hidden by the snow.  My yard was considered finished when everything had been neatly piled onto wooden pallets to keep it all from rotting.

It’s not as though I ever planned to throw any of that stuff out. You never knew when a friend would need a part for something mechanical and/or motorized. There was always the chance that part could be found in the pile of rubble so neatly aligned each spring.  A yard cleared

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