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Ferg, a gentle giant, will be missed

When I moved from Barrow to Anchorage, one of the first things I did was become a volunteer at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center (Bird TLC). I did it because all my life I have felt a special love and affinity towards birds.

I remember as a child dreaming that I was Supergirl. After my mother would put the lights out in my room at night, I would lull myself to sleep dreaming that I was leaping out of the little window in my bedroom. My super powers allowed me to zoom straight up thereby missing the wall that

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Sane enough for gastric bypass?

About a month ago, I wrote a column in which I detailed my growing realization that I either needed to get control over my weight or I would not be able to fulfill my late life goal of spending all of my niece’s inheritance before I die.  After much thought, a lot of Internet research, and a couple of bags of potato chips, I finally decided that a gastric bypass was the only solution left to me.

Armed with the support of the many doctors in this community who helped to keep me alive until I reached this decision, I

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Terrorist kill children at school

School started this week in Anchorage.  The yellow buses are back.  The blinking yellow lights are back.  Parents all over town are congratulating themselves on having survived another summer vacation.  Meanwhile, parents in Beslan bury their children and try to get on with their lives in a town where the first day of school went horribly awry.

You shouldn’t have to worry about dying from the simple act of going to school.  You shouldn’t have to worry about terrorists taking over your school and holding you for two days in torturous heat with no food or water. The only thing

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Road construction not scary thanks to nice workers

The street leading to my little part of the world has been in bad shape for some time now.  Heaves in the road left parts of it three foot higher than other parts.  Those of us without monster trucks quickly found that negotiating down the street was always more exciting than one would imagine a trip down a 20 mph residential road should be.

But after a while, you can get use to anything.  So most of us reached the point where we knew when to swerve left, when to swerve right, and which puddles to avoid during breakup because

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This armchair athlete exhausted by Olympics

I have to confess. I am responsible for Paul Hamm’s gold medal at the Olympics in the all around gymnastics competition. And just to completely ease my conscience, I probably should admit I had a lot to do with Carly Patterson’s win in the women’s all around gymnastics competition also.

Why, you ask, would an aging baby boomer sitting on a couch in Anchorage who finds running up a short flight of stairs a physical challenge think that she had ANY connection whatsoever to the world of Olympic gymnastics?  Well, the ugly truth is that I was the one who

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Don’t drive drunk…three simple words

I’ve reached an age when I scan the obituaries every day to see how many people my age have died and what they died from.  I feel horribly cheated if the cause of death is left out because then I can’t take any comfort in the fact that I don’t have that disease or don’t engage in that activity which somehow translates into my mind as a reason why I won’t die soon.

I am buoyed when the majority of the people in the obituaries are over 70. I have a distance to go before I get there – though

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When diets don’t work

The eventual upshot of some columns you’ll be reading here over the next few months will be a new picture accompanying the column.  Up till now, I have resisted having a new picture taken not because I have aged but because I’d become extremely overweight.

So I’ve spent the past ten years or so ducking from cameras. If family or business obligations forced me to be in a picture, I made sure I was standing behind someone, anyone, who could hide my ever spreading girth.

A little over a year ago I decided that I could no longer hide behind

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Old friends are the best

I recently had to go out of town for some surgery.  I needed a place to stay between the time of surgery and the day I could return to Alaska.  I stayed with an old friend, Janis.

On the day of the surgery, I came down with the flu. We didn’t know this till I came out of surgery and was quite ill with symptoms that obviously had nothing to do with the procedure.  After almost crying when the doctor told me he wanted to keep me in the hospital for an extra day, he finally agreed to discharge me

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Control your dog or I will

I’m what you’d call animal friendly.  Or, as my accountant puts it every year when he looks at my charitable deductions, “Aren’t there any people that you want to help?”

My animals are my family. They are my companions, my dear friends and my confidantes.  But here’s what they aren’t.  They aren’t human.  Even I know that.

This means that if someone is going to be in charge, it should usually be me if only because I’m the only one with the opposable thumb needed to dial 911 in an emergency.  It also means that I am responsible for their

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Family visit Alaska summer tradition

My sister and the three cousins, Christopher, Michael and Joe III, are out hiking.  My cousin Toni is upstairs cooking. She’s already cleaned the celery, made sugar free cookies and is now baking potatoes so they’ll be ready to become part of tomorrow’s breakfast.  It wouldn’t be an Italian household if one of the women weren’t in the kitchen at all times.

Her husband Rich is struggling with a recalcitrant screen door that has refused to glide smoothly for over four years.  It will either glide smoothly for him or it will be sorry it didn’t.

I sit at my

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