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Monthly Archives: July 2013


A little info about me. There are three things that I hate. Yes, hate.
#1 Being lied to.
#2 Being misrepresented (which is a form of lie, but where I’m not there to correct the misrepresentation).
#3 Being unfairly judged.
I hate them. And I suppose that no one else finds them too tolerable either. Guess this is where that Golden Rule comes in, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Don’t bear false witness against or about me if you want to keep my respect. Don’t judge me based on someone else’s actions or without asking me about the situation.
I am not my Mother, not my Father, not my Brother-Sister-Anyone.


I am myself.


Influenced by genetics, my life experiences, my Faith walk, and the people in my life, yes all of that, but I am my own person. Judge me by my own actions if you must, just remember that the same measure you judge me by, you will also be judged.



Grief is one of those words that means so much, yet still not adequate in its definition. It’s an action, a state of being, something that we do and yet just happens to us, that is not one-size-fits-all. We all grieve differently.
Some people are doers, they express their grief by busying themselves with doing good things to remember those who have passed on and to help those who remain.
Some people get lost in their grief and need others to come along side them and walk through the grief with them. Maybe even to pull them out of their despair.
Some people ignore their grief and suppress it, only to have it rear its ugly head later as unwanted anger or resentment.
Some of us are all of the above I guess. You can’t really label grief entirely.

Love is another such word. It is an action, a state of being, it is not simply an emotion, no OSFA definition to the word or how people apply it in their lives. People express their love in various ways. Some are doers, some are “talkers” (who like to express via words rather than deeds), some are touchy-feely types who want to hug you all the time… 😉 We are all different and even different in various times and circumstances.

When someone is grieving and they express their desire to do something to honor the loved one, and/or the surviving loved ones, it is a disservice to deny them. If I’ve learned anything from my bereavement doula training it is this, people need to express their grief. Don’t shut them up. Help them to do so in beneficial and appropriate ways.

This does not mean to take advantage of generosity of course. There has to be a delicate balance.

Growing up I was greatly influenced by my Grandparents who believed that one should not take “charity”, as they called it. If someone offered to do something for you, or give you something, you should not take it, you could buy it from them, but not accept a gift. However, they would have been highly offended if someone didn’t accept a gift from them. Smacks of double standards to me and this mind-set is one that is quite contrary to Biblical thinking in my understanding. Certainly there is truth in not taking advantage of good-hearted individuals. Yet the whole of the “new testament” is about helping one-another. Feeding others who have no means at the time. Giving, helping, doing for others. Selling your own goods to help a brother/sister in need. All of this “charity” stems from a heart of love. How do you tell someone to not show their love? I can’t imagine that. Yeshua (Jesus) says that this is how the world knows we are his disciples, by our love for our brothers. It is the heart of the entire Law.

Now abides these three: Faith, Hope and Love (Charity), but the greatest of these is love.

Expressing our love during times of grief is paramount to the healing process. I want to honor my Father, do things that keep his good name alive, to keep his heritage alive because I love him. I guess I’m a type of doer in this regard. Many people are. I can’t imagine how I would feel if someone told me I couldn’t do that. It’s out of that place that I gratefully accept the love and honor that others give to my Dad, in his memory, to me and to others. And in time, I hope to return the love and honor to them in whatever ways possible.




There are two chairs in the sun-room at the cabin, a glider and an old style 60’s era chair that rocks on springs. It only had three legs. The fourth leg was an empty paint can. You had to put the can in just the right place in order for the chair to stay upright when you sat down.


The door to the cellar is on the side of the sun-room that the three-legged chair sits, so getting into the cellar is a pain… you have to move the three-legged chair, move the paint can, open the cellar, then do it all in reverse and hope you get the paint can repositioned properly.


One morning while I was moving the three-legged chair to sweep the floor I decided that I was tired of this arrangement! So I went to work fixing it.


I went out to the cut lumber and picked a piece with character to use as the new leg. Found all of the necessary tools and went to work. Some would think that this is a minor thing, and really it is, but for me, it was my first repair job at the cabin. I guess it gave me a sense of accomplishment in some ways. And at least now when I sweep or get into the cellar, I don’t have to worry about the paint can!


I don’t know how long my Dad had that chair or why he never fixed it himself, perhaps he liked having a three-legged chair that he could pull a prank on an unsuspecting visitor?? I don’t know. 😉 That might have been a good reason to leave it three-legged though.



Dad’s Cabin while he was enclosing the porch to make the sun-room.

One of the things that was and is important and influenced my move up here is my Father’s estate. It’s important to me that my Dad’s last wishes be fulfilled, the way that he wanted them. My Dad had talked to a lot of people about his wishes, and I feel that they are pretty well-known. But no matter, someone always has to feel differently in these matters.

Dad didn’t have much, but what he did have was his life’s work: his cabin and his garden. He poured his blood, sweat and tears into building his place. These two things were so important to him. He wanted them cared for, lived in, loved the same way that he did. I get that.

Dad’s way of life doesn’t appeal to many people. The isolation, the remoteness, the rugged outdoors, it’s all foreign to most, and difficult to obtain for those who do desire it. In a way Dad lived a dream that many people will only ever dream about and never realize. With each trip out there I find myself more and more drawn to the quiet solitude, the beauty, the peacefulness that is my Dad’s cabin. I can see why he loved it so much out there.

It is a different way of life to be sure. After spending four days out there, adjusting to no time restraints and no draws of civilization, coming back to town is a shock in some ways. I can only imagine how much so it was for my Dad. Each time I’m out there it gets harder to leave and come back to town.

But a hot shower sure is nice!!


The full moon this month was glorious. Being out at the cabin and seeing it rise over the tree tops, and shine brightly in the ever darkening night sky was simply breath-taking. It also brought with it the highest tides of the summer, a 32 footer! We nearly waited too long to get off the beach Tuesday when we came back from the cabin. We had a few moments of driving in the sea water, which was nearly over our seats… yeah. I’d like to avoid any more of that! 😉



We are loosing light steadily now. You can tell the difference after about 9 pm. It’s getting more “dusky” at night now, and around midnight, you really could use a flashlight to head to the outhouse. It’s amazing how quickly it happens actually. In another couple of months we’ll be seeing plunging temps and much darker nights. We might actually need these headlights that they make us drive “on for safety” with.



Finally, yes finally, I have uploaded some pictures. My laptop wont allow me to download photos, something is messed up with my program I guess, anyway, I have to go to Wal-Mart, download from the camera, access the photos via CD then I can upload them to the blog. It’s quite a process…



So I’ve updated some past posts with photos and then of course my new posts have their pictures with them. Scroll through and look at the old posts if you want to see some great scenery shots and see us on our grand adventure in The Great Land!

Taken at Homer

Taken at Homer



I knew coming up here would be an adventure of epic proportions. But you just never fully appreciate that until you are in the midst of the adventure! Know what I mean??



We drove up the beach and then at the half-way point (Leif’s Creek) we went up the trail called Jacob’s Ladder to reach the main trail. Let me tell you a bit about Jacob’s Ladder. I’m not sure how it got its name but I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that its is a very steep incline. You just go straight up, up and up. Right along the edge of a bluff, probably a 60 foot or more drop in places. So just like Jacob from the Bible, it seems like you’re going straight up to heaven at certain points. Once you get to the “top” you find a muddy mess of a trail. It’s bumpy with tree roots, logs and rocks that others have thrown into holes to try to make it passable. Last month when we came up, this was the first place we got stuck, so I did have some apprehension about going up that way… some.



I was driving a borrowed 4-wheeled rig called a razor. It’s a cute little thing, drives like a car, has seat belts and window restraints and a roll-cage. Well I understand why now… the thing also has very low clearance underneath. So you high-centered easily and it’s a wee bit tippy.



We were following Dean and Thing 1 who were on his wheeler through the fist muddy hole mess (and the mud really stinks, I call it the “bog of eternal stench”. Thing 2 said when we got up there, “it smells like someone had horses up here”. Horse poop in other words. I’d say pig poop is more like it though.) I was trying to watch where he went through and follow him exactly. He went high around this big mud hole and I followed him. The razor is a bit wider than the wheeler, and my passenger side wheels went off into the hole…. then the rest of it went off. Right over onto its side… in the mud. Like an old mare who just laid down on her rider. It was slow motion, and we just watched as we tipped over. Thing 2 and Little bit were safely belted into the seat but let’s just say they were a little freaked out over the “turn of events”. 😉 Once I ascertained if they were alright, and they were fine-just scared, I released their buckle and put them out on to dry land. Then Dean and I went to work with the wench to get me out of the mud. It took two wenches (the wheeler’s and the razor’s) and a lot of “get on the gas” to get out, but we did. Then we were on our way again.



We have never seen such adventure before! 😉 But this is the reality of life at Gray Cliffs. You get stuck, you wench out. You wear mud boots and rain gear to keep the mud off of you, and believe you me, I was glad to have my rain gear on that day! You learn how to get through the mud if you can’t avoid it. I’m learning.




Dust to dust



We had our memorial for Dad at the cabin yesterday, (Tuesday 7/23). He is finally resting where he wanted to be, well mostly anyway.


Dad's ashes and the photo Tami took.

Dad’s ashes and the photo Tami took.


We had a nice gathering of close friends and family. Mike, Tami and Allie, Skylar, Scott and Deni, Dean, Aunt Char and Uncle Ray, Aunt Dee and Uncle Eugene and of course myself and the kids. Tami and Deni arranged the food and brought us a wonderful array of local flavor: moose burgers, elk sausage, deep-fried zucchini and cauliflower (one of Dad’s specialties), salads… so much food. And all so good.

Mike grilling up some awesome moose burgers and elk sausages!

Mike grilling up some awesome moose burgers and elk sausages!


Good food!

Good food!


We spent about 4 hours together out there. Looking around, laughing, reminiscing, taking pictures. A true final good-bye.


All of us, Mike was behind the camera.

All of us, Mike was behind the camera.


Then we took his ashes to the garden. Dad had told others that he wanted to be next to Fritz and Okie (his dog and cat who are buried there). Aunt Dee and Uncle Ray scattered some of his ashes in the wind over the garden. We buried some next to Okie, and then Aunt Dee took some back to Linda.



Mike dug a small hole next to Okie for Dad’s ashes, then we planted a Forget-Me-Not over the top. A fitting plant I’d say. Both Alaska’s state flower, and true to its name, we will never forget the man they called Chuck, and I called Dad.



The finality of it. Both full of sorrow and yet good knowing that to the best of my ability, I was doing what Dad wanted. Dad’s wishes are what matters.


Sums it up well...

Sums it up well…


Baruch b’shem YHVH. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.




Five minutes doesn’t seem to much to ask. Jut 5 little minutes.


As I approach this memorial service for my Dad, family coming up, scattering his ashes at the cabin, I find myself completely unprepared.


Having his sisters and his brother in laws here, having to say those final, final, goodbyes. I don’t’ want to. I want to run away a hide. I want to put it off for two more months. I want to pretend he’s still here, somewhere, waiting.


But I can’t.


The tears come and I can’t stop them.


They overwhelm me at times. Times when even the fast pace of life and the hurdles I face as a single mother can’t even keep me distracted. I just want 5 more minutes with him. Will this feeling ever go away?




Beef Ribs, your choice of style and amount.
1 cup brown sugar


1 tbsp paprika


1 tsp chili powder


1 tsp garlic powder


1 tsp onion powder


pinch of cayenne pepper


pinch of cinnamon


Salt and Pepper to your preference


Mix all together and rub onto the ribs. It’s best to do this the day before and let them rest over night in the fridge for optimum flavor. But you can do this right before roasting, like I did. You will still get a good flavor but it wont be as fully developed.



Place your ribs in a cast iron dutch oven, drizzle a little Worcestershire sauce over the ribs and slow roast them in a 250 degree oven for 3 hours. Turn up to 300 degrees and finish roasting, total of 4-5 hours. They should be tender and meat pull easily off the bone by this point. Top with your favorite barbeque sauce and enjoy!



This recipe was developed by me, with some collaboration. 😉 Feel free to share with attribution.