The City and Borough of Sitka, through the CARES Act, has temporary office & administrative positions available to our citizens who are unemployed, underemp...
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Thursday, October 1 - Saturday, October 3 from 1-4pm (presentations) and 6:30-8:30pm (interactive discussions) via Zoom - will be the Southeast Alaska Tradition...
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We hope that this finds you healthy and safe. At Brave Heart Volunteers, our mission is to provide compassionate care, companionship, respite and education to t...
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The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) (on July 27th, 2020) stated that the University of Notre Dame has withdrawn from hosting the first presidential de...
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*** 9/29 Application Deadline for By-Mail Ballot Request *** Prefer to vote by mail in the October 6 Municipal Election? All registered Sitka voters are eligi...
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Monday, Oct 19th, 6:30-8:30pm - The Sitka Community Land Trust will hold its next regular meeting on a Zoom call. The public is encouraged to attend. The SCLT i...
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SITKA, September 28, 2020 - Sitka's current COVID-19 alert level is MODERATE. The following mitigation guidance is recommended: Masks/face coverings enc...
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On Saturdays in October, November & December, Sarah Lewis -- of the UAF Juneau District Office of Cooperative Extension -- will teach a series of Home Food ...
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Growing Garlic in Southeast Alaska (info. supplied by Andrea Fraga of Middle Island Gardens): When to Plant: Soon! Garlic needs to spend 10 months in the gro...
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Looking for a used chop saw. Anybody who has one to sell, please phone Mick at 747-7987.
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The Sitka Monthly Grind and Greater Sitka Arts Council present the first show of the 26th season. This special show will be Online on the “Sitka Monthly Grind” ...
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Wednesday, September 23 from 6-7:30pm on Zoom - Juneau Garden Club's 2020 Garlic Festival. FREE Zoom videoconference opportunity for Sitkans & other SE Alas...
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HERE is a link for Sitkans & other Alaskans who want to REGISTER to VOTE or to Update their Voter Registration. Once again, you can find the voter regist...
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Did you miss (or want to see again) the Sitka Chamber Candidate Forums? Go to sitkachamber.com and scroll down to watch three Sitka Chamber Candidate Forums....
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Tuesday, September 22 at 6pm @ Assembly Chambers, there will be a Regular Assembly Meeting. Agenda includes: New Business First Reading: E ORD 20-49 ...
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The Soupster hears about some post-Covid magic.
The words “Oblong Rookery” appeared on the Soupster’s phone, accompanied by a chime.
“Hi, Oblong!” said the Soupster. “It’s really good to hear your voice. How long has it been?”
“Almost a year, Soupster. I think the last time was when you were visiting down here and dragged me to that Korean horror flick on Hollywood Boulevard. I know I grumbled a bunch at the time but looking back I do appreciate it.”
“Are you well, Oblong? How are you doing?”
“Oh, yeah, Soupster, I’m well, and I’m doing okaaay… I’ve been thinking a lot about Joan Didion lately.”
“Yeah, her. She was the one who wrote that book, The Year of Magical Thinking. She wrote it about the death of her husband – who was also a famous writer – from a heart attack, just days after their daughter – Quintana Roo – lapsed into a coma. This all happened – oh, I don’t know – back in the early aughts.”
“Yeah, I kinda remember. What got your mind on Joan Didion?”
“Well – I am just thinking this through out loud – but I believe I’ve been doing a lot of magical thinking myself in the past year. Like, I have been going to call you for months, and then, even though I was obsessing about you, I didn’t call. On some level, I kept thinking, ‘I have to call Soupster and find out how he’s doing. If I don’t call soon, something bad might happen.’
“So, that is why I am really, really glad that you’re okay. And I’m okay. And my cats are okay, and even my plants are okay. All those things get involved in my magical thinking, too.”
“Cats and plants are pretty important, Oblong. Especially now. What’s so magical about how you think of them?”
“Well, Rubber Tree – that’s my black cat (she’s named after that Sinatra song, ‘High Hopes’ – remember, ‘Ooops, there goes another rubber tree plant’) – anyway, Rubber Tree only likes these certain kinds of food. So, I tell myself whenever I find these kinds – just flaked or minced and containing the right kinds of fish – that if I feed them to her, she will be happy, and everything will be all right. Get it? Magical, hmmnnn?”
“What about your actual plants, Oblong?”
“Oh, they’re fine, too, although they do need more water with this heat. Sometimes it’s hard to get myself out to water the outdoor ones, what with the 120-degrees and the smoke from the fires. Fortunately, a lot of my plants are cacti and succulents. I have to be careful with the tomatoes, though. They don’t like to dry out, but they also don’t like wet feet.”
“Sounds like you’re talking anthropomorphism, Oblong – you know, like where you give the non-humans around you human personalities?”
“I might as well, Soupster. I have precious little face-to-face (or even mask-to-mask) interaction with humans these days. I don’t know what I would have done these past months if it weren’t for Rubber Tree and the tomatoes.
“Oblong, that sounds like it could become the title for your own book of magic.”
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The Soupster tells a story…
Originally published September 7, 2000
“Cross your fingers!” yelled the man on the tall ladder to his Soupster neighbor below.
The man furiously sloshed white paint from a bucket onto the wall high up near his roof, as the first clouds passed their ominous shadows over the eaves.
“Not now!” he yelled at the clouds. He made, with his paint brush, even quicker jerking motions that covered him, the ladder, the ground below – everything but the wall – with paint.
The ladder swayed precariously.
“Calm down,” the Soupster yelled back. “Even if it does rain today, you’ll surely have another day to paint.”
“I won’t,” the neighbor said and scurried down the ladder to approach the Soupster.
“I went fishing so many days I could have been painting,” he wailed. “I took a hike on the new Mosquito Cove trail when I could have been painting. My whole family offered to help me on several occasions. ‘That’s okay,’ I told them. Oh, I’m a fool, a fool!”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” said the Soupster.
The neighbor turned suddenly cold and serious. “How long have you lived in Our Town?” he asked the Soupster.
“Long enough,” the Soupster answered cautiously.
“Then you should know,” said the neighbor, “that putting off your painting till September is madness. Madness!”
The Soupster knew. He knew that professional painters in Our Town sometimes have a waiting list years long. Not for lack of ambition, but because there are so few painting days. And the Soupster also knew that some folks in Our Town have gone to incredible lengths to deal with paint and rain.
“Let me tell you a story,” said the Soupster, gently lifting his neighbor’s spattered paws off his shoulders.
“A nice couple I knew was buying a house and the bank would not close the loan until the weathered western wall was repainted. The couple was paying rent until the loan closed and the monthly payments were wreaking havoc on their savings.
“But the bank insisted on the painting. This was in October, mind you. The couple begged the bank to let the job hold off until spring. They even offered to let the bank hold the painting money until then. The bank wouldn’t budge.”
“What did they do?” asked the neighbor.
“Well, the husband and wife painted the wall together. The wife had a bunch of towels and she would wipe off an area a second before he would slap oil paint onto it. They waited for a day when the wind wasn’t blowing right on the wall and painted it in the middle of a good downpour.”
“I get it,” said the neighbor. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Just do it.” He shook the Soupster’s hand. “Thanks.”
But before the Soupster could say “Pshaw,” rain drops started falling. The neighbor was already running off. “Honey!” he yelled into his front door. “Get some towels!”
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The Soupster recalls an earlier incarnation of Our Town – with tourist crowds & haikus.
Originally Published August 8, 2002
“Stretch!” The Soupster called to his basketball playing friend, Andrea “Stretch” Worthington as she raced furiously around the waterside court on her lunch hour.
“Squat!” Worthington called back, bouncing the ball three quick times in front of her. A long-time center with a fine college team, Worthington cradled the ball with fingers as noticeably long as her legs were. She took off toward the basket, dribbled briefly and flew up in an attempt to dunk. She failed.
“What are you so worked up about?” the Soupster asked.
“Making deliveries all morning, three cruise ships in, streets full, took me twice as long,” she panted. “Can’t people remember that Our Town is a real town and you have to do things like cross the street with a noticeable level of being awake.”
“We should put up signs,” the Soupster murmured.
“That worked in one city,” said Worthington. “People going home at the end of the workday, all impatient and everything, would honk their car horns every two seconds and it was driving the people living in nearby buildings crazy. So they wrote “honk–oos” – haikus designed to deter people from using their horn so freely. They painted the honk-oos on signs and put them on buildings and poles in the honking zone.”
“Did it work?” the Soupster asked.
“Like a charm.”
“Haikus?” said the Soupster. “That Japanese poetry form? Three lines? Five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables? That one?”
“Right,” Worthington said. “Let’s call our haikus ‘hike-oos’. Or ‘walk-oos.’ Like this.” She closed her eyes and recited:
White lines, a crosswalk
To the gift shop with your friend
Be a swift rabbit
The Soupster slapped his knee. “That’s really good,” he laughed.
“How about this?” Worthington said:
Thanks for thanking me
For letting you meander
The bridge light is green.
“Excellent,” said a delighted Soupster.
Worthington ran again toward the basket and lived up to her “stretch” nickname but again failed to dunk the orange orb. She came back to the Soupster, breathing hard and said:
Taking church pictures
Your camera sings just to me
I need to park.
“That’s it, that’s what happened to me yesterday!” the Soupster said. “Say, what’s with the dunking? You were always a shooter. You never dunked before.”
“Dunk!” cried Worthington. “Water! That’s it! The chaos theory in action! Listen and watch, my squat Soupster friend”:
One drop, two, three drops
A necklace of human drops
Tight! It’s a workday!
Worthington leaped from the spot she was standing, sped across the court, the white lines blurring as she passed them, coiled like an enormous spring, then let loose, extended to her full six feet, long arms reaching toward the basket.
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