Summer rhythm

Look what I see!We’ve had a nice month, more sun and good weather than rain: a pleasant change from some of the past summers we’ve experienced in Ketchikan. Today we had cruise visitors, friends from Denver who were passing through Ketchikan on vacation. They had a few hours off the ship and we were able to show them around town, have lunch, catch up a bit. Stephanie and her little ones come next Saturday for a week. We have other friends coming through on a cruise stop in July. In between we work, celebrate the Fourth of July, and enjoy fresh fish from this season’s catch.

Summer is peak time to be in Alaska. It’s the best season of the year here, no doubt. Fishing is the big sport, and cruise ships bring their passengers, day after day. Float planes fill the air. It’s a busy time in the Tongass Narrows space, air and water. And lucky for us, we have a front row seat. I start my day with strong coffee, a little sugar, a lot of cream, looking out the big windows in the sun room, watching the first ship of the day gliding into a berth on the docks below. I hear the float planes coming to life with their noisy engines; watch the first Alaska Airlines jet of the day come in for a landing across the water. It’s my favorite part of living here, the incessant activity of an early summer morning.

After a spring of travel, being in and out of town, I’m happy to have a stretch in one place. We’ll be in Ketchikan for the next several weeks, at least into August, and it makes stocking the fridge a worthwhile task. The front hedges are trimmed, the rhododendrons are pruned, I’ve weeded a bit, cleaned, reclaimed, opened the windows to let the fresh air in. After weeks away, the house is back in use, feels like home. Aahhh!

I’m busy with work. Both of the organizations we work with are implementing electronic health records. The IHS clinic is using one system, Ketchikan’s medical group is moving from one to another. Too crazy! I could not have guessed at this stage of my life that my work would revolve around this technology. But so it does. In the IHS clinic, my role has been more of a facilitator, a coordinator, of the process. I’m only involved in a small way with the technology itself. For the medical group here in Ketchikan, I’ve committed to become a super user. So far the pre-training modules I’ve viewed have focused on front office processes…not sure how much, if any, of the back office and provider side I’ll need to learn. The point to going through the training is to become a resource to assist and teach others. In any health care system there’s a fairly steady rate of turnover, so training will be ongoing. And as electronic health records are quickly becoming a mandatory feature in the world of medicine, learning two systems will be a useful addition to my fund of skills…great to have in my back pocket as I continue to mull over…just what do I want to do with my work life?

Well, work is work. Sometimes interesting, sometimes fun, but always work. In between hours at the office, I’m enjoying the pleasure of big moons in the sky, looking forward to seeing fireworks for the Fourth from my own front windows; eating dinners on the deck; learning a new work-out routine; excited to have a few days to snuggle little Riley and Jack; trying some new recipes for homemade ice cream and fresh pasta; working, still, or again, on my professional website; and planning the next several months of commitments. All good; all perfect for the rhythm of summer.

Last ship of the day

4 thoughts on “Summer rhythm

  1. Sheila, I stumbled across your blog today and have enjoyed reading many of your posts. You writing style is clear, encouraging, and thought-provoking. I am a church secretary in Newark, DE, and occasionally get to choose an article for our bulletin. I am writing to ask for permission to use one or more of your blog posts for that purpose. I’ll be glad to let you know which posts I use and the date used. We print a paper bulletin for use on Sundays and use the same material to send to members and friends via electronic format. Whatever your answer, you have my thanks for writing, and best wishes in the future.


    • Frances, what a lovely compliment! Thank you for reading and for commenting! Yes, you’re welcome to use whatever you like. I’m just curious, what church is this for?

      I hope you’ll visit often! I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and to reach out through comments. Blessings! ~ Sheila


  2. Sounds like you’re having a wonderful summer! Love the photos of the cruise ships – that one with the lights is great! How amazing to see all that right from your window.
    It was so nice to meet up with you in Williamsburg; maybe one day we’ll get to Alaska…!


    • You should come up! Since you guys like road trips, you might consider driving the Alcan Highway, the road that runs through Canada and up to Alaska. However, that doesn’t come through Ketchikan…you have to fly or ferry, or cruise here…no roads connect this island to the rest of the state. When Rob and I did a portion of the Alcan several years ago we drove from Anchorage to Haines and ferried the rest of the way…and that option brings you through Ketchikan. The Alaska Marine Highway (state ferry system) allows you to bring a vehicle on board, and they have cabins for the overnight routes. So there you go…lots of new travel opportunities if you head north west! I’ll leave the light on for you! ~ Sheila


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