Archive for October, 2009

A Perfect Day

Waking in a bungalow 8 feet off the ground excited to explore Vang Vieng, Laos with Michael is the beginning of a perfect day. Farm animals were on the property behind us. bungalow12We heard pigs, birds, roosters and a myriad of other animal sounds. Our bungalow was situated on the bank of a beautiful river, Nam Xong. Vang Vieng is only a few blocks in each direction so we walked, passing happy children, chickens, very simple houses and experiencing a new culture. We floated down the river on intertubes. We asked the tuk tuk driver to take us further up the river and were thankful later he hadn’t. la-river-at-vang-vieng2The river was slow moving, clear so you could see the bottom and gorgeous. The float took about 4 hours. We saw women and a few men harvesting algae from the river, putting it in a basket on their back. I harvested some and one of the men smiled. I used a long bamboo pole to harvest with, which I was also using to push me along. We stopped to explore a cave. From the river bank we walked through a field, wondering if we were on a “wild goose chase”, then climbed the steep craggy lime mountain. cave2When we finally reached the opening we looked in and I thought, “OK we see it let’s go.” It looked like a very huge opening in the mountain. Michael wanted me to climb down in. I did so grumbling. The surprise was that when we got down into the cave we could see much more cave in front of us. It also was a nice break from the heat being that it was cool. We walked and walked. It was if the whole mountain was hollow. The cave was flat bottomed, about 50 feet wide and 30 feet high. Many times it is good to listen to your kids. Along the river were a few entrepreneurs with cold drinks and a rope you could swing over the river and jump in. The vistas were breathtaking with tall limestone mountains and green fields. By the end of the float I had thoroughly enjoyed the river and warm sun, but my arms were tired from treading water. I remember seeing massage establishments near the take out and think it would be a great idea to have one. After having a refreshment Michael and I talked to the lady about getting a massage. I was first and Michael would come back in an hour for his…well at the beginning of my massage in broken, very broken English I heard, “you like 2 hours, it would be very nice?” Well, I thought Michael won’t be back for an hour, then he will be another hour and it was only $4. an hour so why not. I want to go back for some more. Lao masseuse have a unique, indescribable technique! field2We rented a motorcycle to explore and turned down a small dirt lane, all “roads” are dirt, to see people tending to their daily living, with cows, chickens and kids on the lane. They stared at us because we are such an oddity, but with smiles and greeting of SABADEE. (Good Day) I loved those happy, simple, beautiful people and there simple life and gorgeous country. We ate dinner in an open air stall. The young girl waiting on us showed interest in new words, so Michael taught her how to greet someone and ask their name. She was precious and thankful. He checked with her the next day to see if she remembered. sunset3Michael is a great travel companion. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to travel and experience with him.


Burned to the Ground

Burned to Ground

Katalla Company Hospital at Camp 1

Fire which started in the house occupied by John Longacre, electrician for the Katalla Company at camp 1, on Wednesday morning, April 1909, about 1 o’clock, destroyed the building and then spread to the hospital which was also burned to the ground, with a portion of its furniture, fixtures and appliances.

Mr. Longacre’s escape from death was almost miraculous, and was probably due to the cries of the house cat, which roused him from sleep to find the house a mass of smoke and flame.

Mr. Longacre was alone in the house. Mrs. Longacre having gone to Martin Point to join a party which was going on an outing next day to Softuk bar (to fish). He retired about 11 o’clock and was soon sleeping soundly. About two hours later he was partially aroused by a crackling sound, but not fully. Just then the load cries of the cat awakened him completely. He jumped out of bed and made his way to the outer room, which was filled with smoke, while flames were licking up ceiling and walls. He tried to reach a window but found himself again in the bedroom where even the bed was then on fire. Dropping to the floor to escape instant suffocation, he crawled toward the window and fortunately, this time he reached it, just as the wall separating the two outer rooms fell down. Nearly suffocated he fell against the single pane of the lower window, breaking it and then tumbled through the opening to fresh air and life. Getting to his feet he tried to shout but he had inhaled too much smoke and could not. Clad only in his night clothes, and sockless, he make his way to Red Christensen’s house and gave alarm. By the time that Mr. Nathan and others reached the place the hospital building was in the grip of the flames and attempts made to save it, and it was futile, was soon consumed.

katella 1914

It is believed that the fire caught from a terra cotta flue in the ceiling. After escaping from the house Mr. Longacre remembered that he had recently installed a gasoline stove in the kitchen at the rear of the house, and the fire not having reached it, he succeeded in rescuing it intact.

Mr. and Mrs. Longacre lost all their household effects, clothing and other belongings. A portion of the hospital equipment had been packed for shipment to Cordova, and taken to the dock, but a large amount was lost. The hospital was built by the of Katalla Company in 1907, and with equipment, which was an excellent one, probably cost $25,000. The entire plant of the company is covered by insurance.

Excerpt  from Wrangell St. Elias News  March & April 2009


Making A Difference

Why are we here? For me one of the reasons is to make a difference. How can one person make a difference? You probably are already making a difference in ways you don’t even know. There are several ways I like to make a difference. The first one is having children and doing my best to pass on love and good character. I am proud of Scott, Brent, Christina, Kenneth and Michael. kids0309They are now living the lives they believe in with love in their hearts. We make a difference to strangers by offering small acts of kindness, encouraging words or even a smile to brighten their day. To our community we make a difference by giving our talents. I like to help someone organize a space, room or house that is causing them frustration. I have enjoyed sharing my talents as a seamstress to make a wedding dress, recover furniture or help a grandchild make a pillow. In the global arena it is easy to make a difference by donating to people with less to help a women in a third world country start a cottage business so she can provide for her family or help fund a water system to provide safe drinking water to the entire community.


Beverly Lake, Alaska

It is an awesome life when you can spend the summer at the edge of a small secluded lake in Alaska and watch nature happen.  You choose…do you want to sit on the dock to be closer to the fish jumping, lake otters swimming around you, watch the loons play, and occasionally have the gracious swans visit.swans-with-flowersOr would you rather lounge on the deck with a good book and see the resident eagle fly over and perch on a nearby spruce, listen and watch the small planes fly over and watch nature though out the summer as the leaves come out, the first wildflowers bloom and then more. It is really a thrill. 

I like to sit in my recliner in front of the wall to wall windows and watch the birds feed and fly from tree to tree, the squirrel jump from limb to limb and sometimes harass the birds and ducks and the mother duck waddle up from the lake to under the bird feeder with her babies in tow to eat bird seed. 


Keystone, The Ultimate

I have loved to ski since I was 8 years old. Only an hour away from my home in Denver, Colorado is Keystone, my favorite ski resort. Keystone has three magnificent mountains with 3K acres of skiing.michael-keystone To “fly” down my favorite run, Starfire. The rush is the ultimate. I stop at the top to look over the breathtaking view of the converging mountain ranges and Lake Dillion with awe, then tuck and go fast as I can, just under, “out of control”. I like to ski on all three peaks each day I ski and vary the terrain. Apres skiing I like to soak in the open air hot tubs overlooking the slopes and then eat at one of the many great restaurants while waiting for the after ski traffic to subside. I don’t think I would take up skiing as an adult because I would be falling and enduring the cold, but I know how to dress warm and don’t fall. Thanks Dad for taking time to share skiing with me when I was young.