I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

It’s early on the 5th of July. Chip and Eliza are off on a bike ride. Trixie has already been swimming and smells like it, and the house is a bit of a shambles.

I am not ready for a coastal grandma photo shoot in mismatched PJs ( all I could find in the dryer, and I don’t want to wake the children and other dogs sleeping in our room.) Chip and I moved to the little room, Papa Bob’s old room, so JJ could have the  3rd floor with her two ( 8 weeks & 2 years) and Eliza and hers ( 5 & 7) could share our big room. Dad’s ashes are in a nice box on the dresser. I like that he is still around.

Eliza is at the tail- end of her training for the Juneau IronMan on August 7th, and Chip is happy to be able to keep up with her for 60 miles.

I am happy to be watching over a house full of sleeping grandchildren. We all rode together plenty this past week since JJ held the fort down until we returned for breakfast.

But they all headed home to Juneau on the ferry two days ago, and now it is just the five of us in the house, and it seems so quiet. Well, quiet until the five Haines cousins arrive again.

We have spent these hot summer days on all kinds of adventures, near and near-ish.

And we were never successful in getting everyone in a photo at once ( here is half the crew at Battery Point, the other half went up Mt. Ripinsky that day) and actually, I mostly forgot my phone to take a snap anyway– It’s nice to be without it when I’m with them all.

I umpire the Little League games so there are no pictures of the three older girls playing ball and the son-in-laws and Sarah coaching. (How the umping came to be is a whole other story, as is the surprise 40th anniversary party at the Old Field Kitchen where everyone was dressed up but me- since they really did fool me–  I had a ball cap and a T-shirt on, and the only reason I wasn’t in shorts is because Chip told me I might want to put on pants as it was buggy up at Sarah’s house, where I thought we were going for a beer on the lawn. Seriously?)

Here I am with all my girls– the only one missing is our son in Australia, but they are coming this winter, so his famiy can see snow.

The sun is hardest on the baby and the redheads. Without the usual Southeast Alaska rainy day ( or three) reprieve, we decided it was not a sin to play inside sometimes.

And by next summer the granny house should be done, and that will give us all more room.

I like the pile-up though, and have been singing Brandi Carlile’s “I want to live in a house with a crowded table…” — a lot.

Chip was happy to take baby duty on the couch.

And his UAA T-shirt reminds me: I will be Anchorage in few weeks to celebrate ( and eulogize) the UAA MFA creative writing program of which I am an alumni. This is the last residency since the governor cut the program– just when Alaska needs our storytellers, poets and truthsayers the most. Sigh. There is a week of great readings and talks. Mine is Friday July 15.

As to that 4th of July picnic I was panicked about? We did it! Thanks to Chip, my sister and Norm, and the Nemec family ( Officer Nemec puts the T in Trooper) and my neighbor James, friend Teresa, Jon from Lutak- Nelle and Larry were super heroes picking up the ice at the cannery and hauling the grills – Lori, Wendell, JoAnn, and the lovely Lisa on the drink/ice  tubs  — I’m sure I missed someone, forgive me– We Friends of the Library served about 850 hotdog lunches,  with chips and a cold drink for 5 bucks a piece– a deal for families when one is especially needed as the cost of gas and groceries are through the roof. Even so, I think we raised about 1500 dollars, maybe more– And a good time was had by all. ( I was too busy during the rush after the parade to take any action pictures, so this is before the chaos, and so I can remember how to set it up next year. — I can’t believe I just wrote that. God help me.)

Whoops, Molly is up. Time to go. Talk to you soon (-ish?)