Columns 2006

Older women abused too

Growing up, two very dear women I knew and loved died of cancer.  One died of breast cancer and one died of uterine cancer.  Both died quickly, as though death were easier than continuing to live.

One of these women was married to a wonderful man who happened to be gay at a time when men from the coal mining regions of Pennsylvania simply weren’t. For over thirty years they kept this secret.  She produced three children and then moved from her husband’s bed to her daughter’s. By the time she showed her misshapen breasts to someone, it was way

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Columns 2000

Harry Potter good book for blizzardy day

It was one of those mornings; not the good kind – the kind that make you wonder if your mother wasn’t right all along about the wisdom of moving to Alaska. Or did she use the word “sanity”?

It was 6:30 AM and we’d had quite a blizzard overnight. Mr. T chose this of all mornings to decide he had to go out REAL BAD.  So I stumbled to his very own little half door in my entryway. This led to a porch where he could do whatever he wanted all winter/ In the summer, I just washed it away.

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Columns 2006

Dentists in Bush Alaska

It’s become one of those trite truisms that all we ever needed to know we learned in kindergarten.  I don’t quite agree with that since I’ve never actually seen a kindergarten kid filling out a tax form.  But I do believe that we should have learned one of our most important lessons there, and that is to play and work well with others.

In that spirit, and to help the dental society avoid anymore of those large, costly ads they are running about the proposed dental health aide program, let me make a suggestion that perhaps will help us get

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Columns 2005

Annual Pet Peeve List

It’s that time of the year when I get to list out my top peeves for the past twelve months. I do this in the hope that those of you responsible for some of them will make a real effort this year to clean up your act.

Being an Anchoragian, I must, of course, start my list with a rant against many of our lovely local drivers.  If I have one dream left in life, it is to die with my feet on, in my own bed, surrounded by my loving pets and family.  I sometimes feel as though there

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Columns 2005

Christians win war on Christmas

As the debate over Christmas in stores continues, I have what I think is a great suggestion. Why don’t we put Christmas back in church and ask the stores to butt out altogether?  This way, there may be the semblance of a hope that our children will grow up understanding the true meaning of Christmas. And no matter what the commercials tell you, it isn’t to beat your siblings out by getting the most presents under the tree.

Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ. I was always taught that at a birthday party it was the honoree who got the

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Columns 2005

Pets are not accessories

In the best of all possible worlds I probably wouldn’t have to actually say this. But I feel compelled to because, alas, no one has realized the wisdom of making me dictator for life of the world and so it is not a perfect world.  Anyhow, here’s what I want to make sure everyone is very aware of this holiday season.  Pets are not fashion accessories and most animals, given a choice, would not travel inside a woman’s handbag while she shopped, ate or otherwise occupied what is obviously way too much extra time on her hands.

I still find

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Columns 2005

Abused kids unlikely to say thanks

The December 1, 2005 issue of this paper carried a letter to the editor from a gentleman who wanted to know why none of the victims rescued from neglect and abuse through the Office of Children’s Services have come forward to defend OCS and praise the actions that were taken in their name.  I read the letter and sighed. 

In all my life, I never wanted to end up as the defender of OCS.  On a good day, in my capacity as a GAL, I can be as angry and frustrated with the services and staff as any other person

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Columns 2006

Strange Alaska highway lights

There is a scene in one episode of the show “Everybody Loves Raymond” where his brother’s new girlfriend is finding out for the first time just how crazy the family can be.  Ray’s wife comments that she sometimes forgets how weird the family is until a new person comes into their lives and looks at them with horror. She adds, “And now I’m one of them.”

Sometimes I feel that way about being an Alaskan.  I don’t realize how strange some things are here until I hear them described by someone from outside who has arrived in our state recently

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Columns 2005

A new Driver

When I got my learner’s permit, my parents made it clear that they did not believe in paying for driving lessons.  I went to a small Catholic high school that didn’t offer driver’s ed in the curriculum.  And if it wasn’t available for free from the school, then they would just have to be the ones to teach me.

So the first few weeks I had my permit, my dad was my designated driving instructor.  About once a week, after much begging, crying and sulking on my part, which would cause my mother to start getting a migraine, he’d agree

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Columns 2005

Dresing up for the Nutcracker

Along with many other Alaskans, I kicked off the holiday season with turkey and ballet.  But this year, the Nutcracker was even more special than usual because three wonderful young ladies accompanied my friends and me to the ballet.  They were beautiful by any standards you’d like to apply and added to that, they were suffused with the beauty of youth.

When Kate and I first made plans to go to the Nutcracker, we decided on a matinee figuring we’d get away with dressing casual, dining casual and being home soon after dark. Our goal was to be in our

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