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Heather Lende

Everyone agreed that it was a very good graduation. The valedictorian, Abby Jones -- who will be playing basketball at a community college in Washington next year and who plans to major in education, communication and psychology -- spoke sincerely, sweetly and succinctly about the best qualities of each of her 24 classmates. Every time she named one you could see them sit up straight and smile. The dads nodded proudly or held up the camera and the moms reached for the Kleenex or fanned themselves with the program, or perhaps fumbled a bit with both and the emotion of it all...

Heather Lende

I was on my into the grocery store when I saw Doug Olerud come out of the sports shop next door with a hummingbird feeder, and then prop the door wide open.

I had just been thinking about Doug, and what a good advocate he was for the library when he was on the borough assembly. (We could use him in the current budget talks.) Anyway, I went in to tell him so, but there was a crowd -- four is a crowd, right? -- trying to shoo a panicked hummingbird out the front door...

Heather Lende

Don't even ask. It was an awful day. Thank God it was sunny so the dog could stay outside all day. I'm still scratching phantom itches.

Forte, my large, hairy old and limping flat-coated retriever, loves to roll in sweet smelling (to him) dead things. Like for instance the remains of that Pacific Sleeper shark that washed up in the back yard a while ago. Which is where we suspect he got the lice. (Things were hopping all over the skin the last time we saw it.) I thought Forte had some sort of seeds or burrs that he had stuck his nose into, until they moved. (He is not an outdoor dog. He lives with us, in the house.)...

Heather Lende

This morning I got an email that a royalty check had been returned to my publisher. It was addressed to me, at 936 Mud Bay Road, Haines, AK 99827. Right up front I'll admit that is not my legal address, as there is no home mail delivery in Haines, but I have been using it for years, as I suspect many of my neighbors use similar ones...

Heather Lende

This morning something jammed in the KHNS radio automation system, so we heard last Friday's April Fool's Day stories. The one about a new Alaska reality show called "Green Necks" really had me going, all over again. The joke was that logger Scott Rossman and clean water activist Gershon Cohen would trade places for the show. Scott would eat tofu and Gershon would eat meat. It seemed more believable than the new program "Mounted in Alaska" about a taxidermist. (Honest, that is a real TV show .) In other news, the intrepid Haines Venturer scouts are back from a mountain climbing trip in Ecuador and have begun fund raising for their next trip. (They've been to Africa to climb Mt....

Heather Lende

In yoga this week, the instructor, Nancy, began the practice announcing that she had good news and bad news. There was a worried silence. Then she asked which we'd like first. Some said the bad, some said the good. "What if the good news and bad news is the same?" She asked. Then she spoke about learning to react to the world in a different way than we usually do. That basically, the news "is what it is." What makes it good or bad is our response to it. That may be true. But how can you respond to the news that a friend has died with anything but tears? That's what happened Thursday when I was told Ellen Borders had died. "Our Beloved Ellen" as the sign on the library where she worked for 31 years said. Ellen was retiring on April 15....

Heather Lende

March is the time of year when we complain how bad the winter has been and boast that we have endured it. Sometimes I even think we wish for the kind of epic forecasts and warnings we’ve had around here lately, just to prove that we are real Alaskans. At the same time, with all the daylight, sunshine and blue skies, March is the Indian summer of winter, promising the best snowy recreation of the year. Sometimes.

The Juneau-based snowboard and ski tour helicopter stationed in Haines hasn’t flown in a week because of the bitter storm force winds, which have been blasting so fiercely that the sturdy little ferry Aurora canceled its last three sailings due to heavy freezing spray...

Heather Lende

It is March, and I have dogs on my mind. The Yukon Quest just finished, and the Iditarod is about to begin. Here in Haines I don’t have a sled, my trails are for snowshoes, but they are dogless for the first time in almost 30 years. When I hike without dog I feel like I’ve forgotten something critical, like my clothes...

Heather Lende

I have done it again. I promised myself this year would be different, but I have been seduced by the seed catalog and ordered enough seeds to plant a small New England farm even though my "homestead" consists of about an acre of beach and woods. There is no tillable soil. I have five raised beds and a small greenhouse.

When my neighbor Betty, who has tended her garden across the road for longer than I've lived in Haines, handed me the seed catalog we share, she said, "Be careful, it's tempting to let your eyes get larger than your ambition."...

Heather Lende
Heather Lende photo The Haines Glacier Bards

We learned recently that Haines has the most college grads per capita of any town in Alaska. It makes sense when you think about it. There's a reason our library was hailed as the best small library in America by Library Journal magazine, that we passed the bond to build the new school, and have a municipal theater and museum. It may also be why we rarely -- actually, I think it is safe to say never -- reach consensus on anything.

Which is a long way of explaining why I skipped all those packed meetings about regulating the heli-ski companies but attended the more heart-healthy evening of funny, sweet skits (and desserts) by the high school drama, debate and forensics team...

Heather Lende

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