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Family recipes way to husband’s heart

My godchild got married recently and I went a bit nuts trying to think of just the right wedding gift to give her.  She’s a very special young lady and, though I’ve never met him, the word I’ve received is that her new husband is a very special young man.  So you can see that no ordinary gift would do.

After much perusing of catalogs and Internet sites, I decided that the best gift I could give her was a book of family recipes.  The recipes would range from traditional dishes that have been in my family since we sailed

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Dog VERY unhappy with low protein diet

I’m not sure how many more days I can take of Mr. T following me through the kitchen like my shadow while staring up at me through his cataract filled eyes wondering why I’ve chosen to torture him at this late stage in our relationship. I don’t want to be mean to him.  If I had my way, his days would be filled with greenies and turkey dogs.  But, like so many of us, he is now being forced to face the inevitable results of old age.

It started with a routine visit to the vet for a dental cleaning

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Tax[ayers never want the cuts in their backyards

I realize that trying to get any given part of Alaska’s elected and appointed leaders to stop tossing the fiscal gap around like a hot potato at a Fourth of July picnic game is probably asking for more than anyone is able to give.  But I don’t think all the blame belongs to the people sitting in Juneau.  Some of it does, but not all of it.

A lot of it belongs to individual Alaskans who keep sending the message to Juneau that they don’t want to pay for services but by gosh those services they use had better not

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When did I get old…and how do I reverse this trend?

Before she died, my mother used to quote the poet Robert Browning’s line, “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.” Then she let loose with what was for her a very unladylike snort of derision. You got the feeling she wasn’t buying the sentiment.

When I was young, I’d hear the cynical tone she used when she said that and thought to myself that would never happen to me.  Why?  Well, because as all baby boomers know, we are never going to grow old.

And then I woke up one day and the unthinkable occurred.  As

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Kids pay price when extended family lost

One of my younger cousins has died.  She’s the first in our generation of cousins to do so.  I guess that makes us lucky when you consider how many cousins we have and what a wide variety of ages. 

Sometimes I have to blink and clear my eyes when I see my cousin Louie.  I keep expecting to see the young man who used to swallow bottle caps to impress his little cousin who had such a crush on him.  Instead, I see a 72-year-old grandfather who could easily become a great-grandfather in the not too distant future.

But I

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Honor roll an endangered species

Every once in a while you read something so outrageous in the news that you find yourself rereading it just to make sure you didn’t totally miss the point. Then you find yourself turning to the front of the paper to make sure you haven’t accidentally picked up some sort of satire publication.  Then you look at the byline to see if it’s by some world-renowned humor columnist.

Only after exhausting all these avenues are you forced to admit that in fact, just when you thought life could get no weirder, someone pushed the envelope a little further.

And so

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Anchorage can be a winter wonderland

I couldn’t believe that my hot water pipes froze when it was only 13 below. I’d lived in Barrow for 28 years and never had my pipes freeze, even in 40 below.  My first thought was what wimpy houses we have in Anchorage.

Then it was pointed out to me that the little room in my garage that contains my hot water heater and furnace was freezing because I had the door shut and the garage heater set at one degree above frigid.  It was an expensive lesson to learn.

While waiting for someone to come thaw my pipes, I

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Keanu vs. Jack? Not a contest

I have already seen the movie “Something’s Got To Give” with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson twice.  It’s a good movie, but the real draw for me was watching Keanu Reeves fall for a woman twenty years his senior.  I don’t know how Hollywood did it, but someone from there clearly snuck into my fantasy life and made a movie based on it.  The only difference is that my fantasy ends with me telling Jack Nicholson to get real and I stay with Keanu Reeves.

Each time I’ve seen this movie, the ending has driven me crazy. I want to

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Columns 2003

Holiday often brings no joy to troubled children

As best we can, those of us who work with troubled and abused kids try to get them as close to home as possible for the holiday season.  It just seems wrong to leave a kid in detention over Christmas if it can be avoided.

Often, we can’t actually let the kid go home for a variety of reasons – some related to the child and some related to the conditions in the parental home.  But we try to find someplace close by where they can feel it’s at least a little bit like Christmas.

Working with village kids makes

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Columns 2003

Holocaust museum creates feeling of horror

I think it was the picture of the kids that got to me and bought it all down to a painfully human level.  My sister has a similar picture in her living room.  It’s a picture of six cousins lined up on Cayuga Street in Philadelphia sometime in the very early fifties.  One cousin, Joe, has struck a bratty pose with a hand behind his head and another on his hip. The rest of us, my cousins Marina, Toni, Joe (a very common name in our family), my brother Philip and I, all stood obediently in a row smiling at

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