Hey Mom…


I got somethin’ to tell you.


I love you.

(says Kim, aged 3)

Published in: on October 6, 2010 at 6:37 am  Comments (2)  
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There is a chair

in our house where everyone sat.

Pulled up to the table to eat with the rest.

I didn’t like my chair.

Mom said, “Sit here ’til you drink that milk.”

So I sat.

The kitchen was dark,

looking across the table to the windows to the back.

Everyone left to go in the other room.

And I sat.

The milk got warm

and still I sat.

In the 1950’s chair, that we all sat in.

Wooden and hard,

where modern mothers made their children drink milk

to make them strong.

Passed down like a family treasure.

Probably with a cup of milk still sitting there.

(youth chair in kitchen August 27th, 2010 and Michael’s first birthday January 30th, 1985)

Published in: on August 28, 2010 at 3:28 am  Comments (8)  
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The moon returns

heralding the end of the Alaskan summer, where summers have no real sounds, except for cars on the highway, planes in the air, magpies screeching in the trees.

Summers so different from my childhood, where the moon made no difference.

In my summers, cicadas were thrumming loudly, June bug skins on screen doors to be picked off.

The smell of tar, sticking to your bare feet with gravel crunching under bike tire wheels, the taste of  wet foods, none to cook.

Legs burning on car seats, breathing labored with hot, wet air reverberating with the fierce heat lightning, one thousand one, one thousand two…

But the moon always came with a promise of reprieve.

This moon, like a street light, where my streetlights were barrels.

Rusted with flames licking out around the edges as our summers burned away in our yards.

And the harvest moon overshadowing the end of those summers.

moon from rooftop garden

August 25th, 2010

Published in: on August 27, 2010 at 7:01 am  Comments (8)  
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A shocking crime

was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.


It is a rigid standard, I know.  To expect so much of others.

To not speak is easy.  To speak and earn ridicule is hard.

But to speak again

must be done

in order for those who can’t speak to win.

In this small church, where children were expected to speak up.

In this small church, there was a small group.

A vote to keep the preacher or not.

That’s what they wanted as they campaigned for their cause.

To decide if the man will stay or be cast out.


The church is Easter, Christmas service full.

Faces we don’t know, come to cast their vote.

Write on a small scrap of paper, to decide a man’s fate.

But wait!

I stand.

I say.

“I think if you are going to decide a man’s future…

you should…

say it..

to his face.”

And silence.

But soon, my dad, he stands too.  “I think that is right.  I have no problem with my vote being heard by everyone in the broad daylight.”

We stood there, alone, really for quite a while.  People try to decide if they can be brave.  And what it means to have a say, to determine a family’s life that day.


People decided they really can’t say no and the vote is by voice so that everyone can hear.

How did you vote?  What did you say?

And the hypocrite leadership didn’t vote what they said, when it was out in the open with everyone near.


At 15.

I learned to stand alone.

To speak up to create a way to atone.

The bad that people will do, and all us play a part.

But sometimes, and in some way, you must



Speak with your Heart.

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 12:41 am  Comments (3)  
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Quilts on the go…

if the house catches fire, we need these two

for they represent a time when life was slow.

My grandmother, Edna Gertrude Honn Duckworth,

made them sitting on the stoop of a cold-water flat,

four children already here and asleep in bed.

Waiting for the last baby to come,

knowing that one baby was already dead.

The double headed hatchet gave no gain

The flower basket to bring beauty in the summer

as a lightweight counterpain.

Nothing but scraps in the 1920’s and no money to spend

She created something of beauty

to last until the end.



There once was an ugly yellow and blue house…

so we painted it !Still, it looked so lonely,

so we grew some friends.

The friends grew so much

that we almost missed the ill wind that began to blow.

It blew and swirled with unrest and sometimes stopped,

so we thought things would continue to grow,

but I said that I must have a way to let this ill wind go through

so that it wouldn’t touch us so.

We cut a door and built a roof and slid with the fun of the new wind,

while we grew new friends to live close to the house for the princess

and as the wind blew by we jumped for joy

with the strawberries and the apples and the birds came, too.

and things looked good, but the ill wind still blew

and we knew it was time

for us to simply say,


Published in: on July 30, 2010 at 10:00 am  Comments (8)  
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Mom, how many grandmothers did you have?

A bunch,

not really.

They were just always there if I had a date.

Or got flowers for a dance.

Or was waiting for a friend.

Or…Christmas, or birthdays or 24/7

because that’s what my parents did.

In that little town

where people think “moms” are always cared for.

Yes, but by us, not their families.

But I learned a lot.

How to make fried chicken gravy.

The secret to birth control (when the kettle starts to boil, take it off the fire!)

How to make beds.

That maternity clothing was called hatching jackets.

How to act like it didn’t matter than when I wanted to take a bath and get ready for a date, seven old women lined up to use the bathroom.

How to listen to someone say the same thing day in and day out.

How to listen to someone play the same song on the piano, day in and day out.

How to sleep in musical beds, depending on whom had died or gone to a nursing home.

Dad did breakfast, Mom did lunch.

I did supper, the easy meal of the day,

and it feels like I have been setting up, cooking, serving and cleaning up forever.

Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 8:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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There once was a Jack in the Beanstalk…

and he lived in the playroom of our house.

He climbed up high to the window

As the Knight watched from the Castle.

To make sure he didn’t escape.

Because he might swing to new heights,

with Rapunzel watching.

in a very messy playroom,

Now, growing upward on the roof

to someday make an escape !

It’s like first grade all over again, and you’re the shiny new toy. –twilight

  Six invitations to the Junior Prom.

Count ’em.

Six.  and I needed a new dress.

No dress, says the mom.

You have a dress, says the mom.

And she wouldn’t budge.

I got a new dress for the next Christmas Dance

And one for the next Prom, too.

But I didn’t get that other dress,

so of course,

what was a girl to do?

We had just moved and I knew it was my only chance,

to have six invites to a prom

or any other dance.

I thought we might not have the money,

and it took me until now to figure out


she didn’t want me to be the

Shiny New Toy


being the New Girl,

I was.

No Doubt.


Published in: on July 28, 2010 at 10:14 am  Comments (13)  
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Carrot cookies…

were always my favorite as a kid.

I am sure some housewife had a bit of extra carrots from dinner and didn’t want them to go to waste.

Someday, I’ll try this with sweet potatoes and maple for the frosting flavor.

This is in mom’s handwriting.  Notice how she made the t at the end of carrot.  That is how she always made her t’s.

Published in: on July 28, 2010 at 8:11 am  Comments (2)  
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I think…

We live in a beautiful place.

Where plants bend to the will of the wind.

Not always so with the people.

Who continue to grow around the rocks.

Up and over,

going around.

To continue to see,

A New season approach,

And the imprint is here,

As we return to the

spot to begin

another Journey.

McHugh Creek trailhead

Anchorage, AK

July 23rd, 2010

Published in: on July 24, 2010 at 2:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Short does not mean Insignificant…

Time passes by


Soon, no one knows

How you do things,

Or why.

The largest changes


come from

the smallest amounts of time.

Some memories

become fuzzy

as they pass into

the sublime.

Others stay


for People told you

You were in your


But, those occasions,

MarkedWith photos



and the


Continue to carry.

Across the miles,

to Remain





The Best Christmas


Published in: on July 19, 2010 at 5:05 am  Comments (10)  
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Grab Burton’s necklace…

It’s a little hard to see.

We have been best buds forever


this silver filigree necklace

is really important

to me.

Published in: on July 19, 2010 at 2:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Wednesday of Wonders

I wonder if this is Campanula?

I wonder why the rocks are orange?

I wonder where the water comes from?

I wonder how close we can get?

I wonder if we will get wet?

I wonder how to get back?

I wonder what else we will see?

I wonder who is inside of that tree?

I wonder if this seat is here just for me?

I wonder…

why the tree looks ready for a fight?

I wonder what it has seen

in all of its might?

And I wonder if

our next visit

will be just as right?

Thunderbird Falls

Chugiak, AK


Published in: on July 15, 2010 at 3:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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I created perfection…once…

So, ppl, if the house is on fire

Grab the suitcase !!!

I could see it in

My mind’s little eye.

And ppl said, “I don’t think so.”

It just needed a bit more work.

And ppl said, “I don’t think so.”

With ribbon woven

And pearls holding it fast.

I knew it would be…

Just perfect…

Even if only for just once

In my past.

Be sure to grab this frame out of my area…

if the house is on fire.

Jack said it was from when Michael drew other things.

I guess that’s really so.

And full of possibilities

when he was only four.

(first day of kindergarten 1989)

Published in: on July 8, 2010 at 8:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Growing takes time…

curling upward.

Not always noticeable


you  look


and determine what

you must take on

the journey.

Published in: on July 3, 2010 at 2:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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My rag doll…

would get thrown in the van

if the house were on fire.

She’s fifty this year

and showing her wrinkles.

With age spots all over her face.

I don’t know who made her all of those years ago.

I was four.

I was in the hospital in Independence, MO.

I had the hives.

She was given to me at the hospital to keep me company.

I guess I wet my PJs and I remember a nurse carrying me

and taking me into a locker room to get dry clothing.

It was very quiet and I was in the crook of her arm.

I also had two black eyes.

My mom said if they had social workers back then,

they would have been banging down their door.

I was playing on Aileen and Raymond Koehly’s organ

and I fell off.

The bench fell on top of me and hit me right on the forehead

giving me two black eyes.

What gave me the hives–they never knew.

I have moved 23 times

And she has moved with me each time.

I’ll give her a name someday,

but for now

she’s just my rag doll.

What would I keep

if I had an hour to decide ?

I do not know

What I would save,

what “stuff” would speak of my life…?

We had a little fire.

Not a great deal was really burned,

but when I asked my daughter what she wanted

it was

just a couple of little Irish dolls.

Now, some things she wanted

and they did get too messed up

but in the end, it was only pictures

and little Irish dolls.

I don’t take many pictures

School pictures still in the envelopes are for that.

Just sometimes ones of things that won’t come again

and if I forgot them, they would be really missed.

I am the keeper of the family items

My mother told me so.

Some things are in my home

Really, because she wanted to know

That once she’s gone those plates she made

will still be on a wall.

My kids don’t have any grandparents.

No aunts or uncles to claim.

They’ve never known family dinners

Unless it’s been 12 hours on a plane.

We have a few pictures of that

before everyone seemed to die.

I think I need to ask them

what items would be important to them

and if they don’t know a story


what they need to know.

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