21 December 2006

Winter Solstice

Bethel is the nearest hub to Nunapitchuk, with the grand population of about 6,000 ppl. Today is winter solstice as you may well know.

Bethel (Western Alaska.) Latitude 60.78 north, longitude 161.80 west. According to one website I went to on our December solstice sunrise is at 10:58am & sunset is at 4:34pm. which gives us 5:36 hours of daylight.

P.S. It's also the Pederson's 2nd year anniversary.

09 December 2006

Beware of Dogs

"The government is secretly putting dog hormones into the water system in an attempt to make Americans mindlessly obedient" (Bucky Kat).

Quote of the day from Get Fuzzy, Dec. 5

06 December 2006

5 hours 55 minutes...

"We are down to 5 hours 55 minutes... and still dwindling. And to think
we started the year at 15 hours 40 minutes," Sara 'original' reminded me.

28 November 2006

6 hours 6 minutes of daylight

Tick tock, there goes the clock.

yupik dance

Yup'ik dance from Halloween in Nunapitchuk, Alaska. video taken by Shaun Przy...

21 November 2006

6 hours 51 minutes

Yes, folks. That's how much daylight there is on the YK Delta right now. We're still loosing it (daylight, not our minds. ok, maybe a little) until the lovely Winter Solstice.

19 November 2006

A whole new world.

We have had frozen river for about 2 weeks; It's probably 6"-10" thick now. It took longer than last year to freeze b/c it's been so warm. Rather than a weekend, it took about a week to freeze fully (near here. there are still open, very dangerous places).

This boat is driving through what seems to be all ice, but they broke it to make a path. That was kind of surreal.

They were traveling b/c of a funeral & people were traveling back & forth to visit.

Have you ever said, "I'm bored?"

Maybe I haven't written a post for more than a month because my life is fairly boring.
I wake up to music, then an annoying/cute alarm.
I putz around my houst a bit.
I go to work to prep. for class.
I have class (with wonderfully ever changing, ever challenging 7-9 year-old children).
I have been sitting in on NYO (native youth olympics)& wrestling practices. Those I have dropped due to the classes
I have been taking. The classes are Geology, which also includes teaching GIS (comp. map making system) & GPS skills to 2 Jr. High students through a science fair project.
I use my non-school time to hang out with co-workers: Peter who plays guitar or feuds with me in Stratego. Christina & Sara who play Settler's of Catan (love the game - you should play). Jenny & Christina who I am almost constantly with (Christina & I live together). We usually just hang & talk with occational flicks ('Color of Fear' & 'Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants' are our recent ones. 'City of God' is next.). We do have a weekly writing group that meets to share works. I haven't written that much, but some. Some other teachers are Sally (our original hippie) who also sparked the writing group. S-Mac (aka Sara) is involved with the writing group & occational hangings out (she's a closet streaker). We had a craft throw down one day that school was canceled b/c we didn't have 60% of students at school (the river wasn't quite frozen & there was also a death). Those crafts of painting, beading, knitting, & drawing symetrical geometrics included Shaun, Sara's fiance.
I love the Pedersons (Eric & Sherry), but rarely get to hang out with them. Eric helped me get my snow-go ready for action last weekend (change crank case fluid, add oil, grease joints, new spark plugs). Now all I need is more snow to drive it on, instead of ice & frozen tundra. So, it's parked & propped. Sherry is beautifully pregnant creaping into her 3rd trimester. They also have an upcoming booming, dog sled team including 4 puppies & a musher (Eric) with a sprained ankle. We need snow! (Not Wed. or Sat. because I'm flying those days. Otherwise, give us a blizzard.)

I also occationally exercise (tredmill, Tues. women's night b-ball, Wed. staff v-ball), read (Eldest & Scar Tissue & various articles or interest), sleep, listen to music & care for my hydroponics plants (mainly the zuccini is the only one growing now, but it's beautiful). Yep; that's about it.
I am going to Anchorage for the Thanksgiving break with Jenny, meeting Sara & Eric there. This means organic foods, live music, a massage, a haircut, shopping at the Natural Pantry, maybe a movie in a theatre, wine & cracked crab at Jenny's aunt & uncles house for Thanksgiving dinner, seeing mountains, trees & cars. Good times.

You might think this Sounds eventful. But, you have to remember that the same things happen month after month. The weather, students, & good company keeps us on our toes. I'm perfectly happy with the simple life at the moment.

Post inspired by fellow boring teacher, Jenny, who's most frequent lines tonight have included "I can't believe you haven't heard of Kuchen!" This is unlike her usual political or environmental or phylisophical, psycholigical, anti-government or anti-America/USA rampages. We love her! (I'm surrounded by a lot of good vibe peeps. I feel lucky that we've crossed paths.)

*Disclaimer: If any of this isn't cohesive or sounds random, take it as it is. It is what it is. I wish whoever is reading this good health, positive energy, and loving company. :-)

*P.S. Stay tuned for photos or hydroponics & a boat driving through an ice crushed path across the river.

07 October 2006

Right now...

Right now I'm coming off of an NYO (native youth olympics) slumber party. It's almost noon, yikes! I came back to school about 11pm last night. Most of the 20+ (10-19 y-o) kids stayed up all night. I went down after 4 & I was up off & on until 8:45 when I actually got up. They play basketball, volleyball, go on the Internet, watch scarey movies, play tag, eat junk food, ... We had a community dance last night too, which ended at 11, when the slumber began. Today @ 2 we have a community potluck with guest speakers, including a state school board member.

I'm trying to keep the balance & some days I think I have it. Then there are other days when I neglect my friends/family & don't get the things done that I need to or don't take care of myself (food & exercise). I've been feeling successful in the classroom. Though, I need to bring some of the things with more freedom back to being more structured. Science is in transition right now & I always feel kind of unsure of things to plan next. I don't want to just throw out random things. We've been learning about plants for about 5 weeks now & I'm going to spin off from that. What I need to do is finish my curriculm map so that I can look at the big picture. (I'm taking a class on curriculum mapping, which was supposed to be this simple 4 assignment class. Then, I found out those 4 assignments aren't so simple.)

I've been stressed about this GIS (mapmaking/geology) class I'm taking. It was more about the study part of it with 6 assignments in a week, but I e-mailed my instructor & she backed off this week, just giving us the ch. to read & a quiz to take. Now, I'm getting stressed about the project bit with students. It's only 2 Jr. High students, but still. They have to learn a computer program on top of doing research for a science fair project utilizing a GPS & the GIS mapmaking system. I don't know the 1st thing about a science fair project, questions to ask, resources... I'm learning by fire, I guess. I just don't want to frustrate the girls by not being a reliable resource.

The sports practices are going fine, but the wrestling coach was calling me every night to talk aka complain about something or other. We've butted heads on a couple occasions. I'm hoping that irons out. We're hosting a wrestling tournament this upcoming weekend & the ball hasn't started rolling yet. Fingers crossed!

I need to sort of train teachers with FTL (a computer program to help with test scores), but that doesn't have to happen until our extended day gets closer.

I went to church Sunday for the first time ever here. They were having some sort of singing thing. I went when there weren't many people. But, it was kind of nice; no Quin. though :-(.

I'll be really sad if Jenny AND Peter AND Kathy leave next year (with Christina AND the Pedersons)!!! They are all so dear to me now. I expect Sara & Shaun to stay unless Shaun just can't take it anymore; S-Mac doesn't like to move. I can't believe I'm thinking about next year already! But, I would like to see what it's like to teach in the same community for 3 years instead of hopping every two; not the best record to start. But, I'll just have to see how this year plays out & come March 31st, I'll deside where I'll be next year.

The hydroponics are a go since labor day. I just transplanted a tomatoe plant to soil to see if that will do better this year. I have 4-season lettuce, buttercrunch lettuce, black beauty zuccini, sage, basil, and roma tomatoes. I just ordered a new light, which should be better than my full-spec flouresent one now. Does anyone need a HPS 175W light? I can sell it for a discount. It should be used after things start to bloom (mostly red & orange spectrum). I've only used it Once & the place where I bought it won't do returns on Any light systems. I couldn't find the hydroponics store in Asheville to see if they buy used either. So, it's just at my dad's house, all $160 of it.

I had my first steam this year last weekend with Jenny. It was way overdue & way hot. sszszszszszzzzsssss... It's a lovely chatting time.

Our winter is a little later this year than last. I remember that our first snow was in Sept. last year. We've just started getting more rain & it's been frosty a few mornings on the boardwalk. Right now, it's 33 outside. I expect snow to be just around the corner. Yippie! I can't wait to learn how to ski.

The full moon was so bright last night! It just glowed in the pitch black sky. After leaving school we went down to the boat dock to see the plethra of stars blanketing the sky. I didn't know the Milky Way could be seen from here.

I'm trying to balance all of my plates on the twirling sticks, while walking the tightrope, backwards. Ok, that's melodramatic. So far I haven't dropped any plates though (fingers crossed).

I love you! You know who you are (everyone ;-).


21 September 2006

Mr. Wood is in the world

7lbs 1 ounce
21" long

My friend Tammy & Woody just had their second baby this morning. They haven't named him yet, but I heard they are all well.

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S !!!

04 September 2006

Walk in Beauty...

This is a Navajo saying, but appropriate across cultures!

At 60 degrees, Alaska is hot & most likely you're experiencing a gorgeous day. I've been appreciating these days more this year. I'm sure it will make me love the winter even more. On the adgenda: berry picking (blue, black, salmon), boat rides, walking the tundra, cooking, live music, hanging out... & Loving my great class this year. I can tell we are going to learn a lot!

To the left of the tip of the boat are 3 new windmills that help supply energy for 3 neighboring villages here. It's about time!

On our way to Akiuk to visit Sara.

Sallison brothers. Dale, the older one, is in my class for the second year.

Photo box - take 2

Jenny & I have taken a few walks & this day we took some photo ops.

The tundra is amazing with how many plants are concentrated together.

One of my favorites is Tundra Cotton.

Going to feed the dogs with the Pedersons is always entertaining. This is Eric with Seeker doing her usual acrobatics.

Ahhh, the labrynth of rivers around here.


See, it only takes me 2 months to do something. But, I always follow through. It's about time for a trim now. :-)

11 July 2006


I just cut my hair!! Short. The back is shaved even, but the front is long. It's cut at an angle along my jawline. I just decided to do this yesterday. Now I'm starting to think about it.

Pictures to come. I just need to load them onto the computer. This is a feat when in NC; I can't just plug it into my laptop & send it. It's about a 5 step process. Patience please. :-)

My summer has been great. I had some friends from AK visit. I went to the beach, then to the mountains to camp. I'm looking forward to visiting more friends & a slight 2-3 day backpacking trip next week.

08 June 2006

Mendenhall Glacier

Juneau, Alaska
*"The drive up glacier." This glacier is enormous, easily accessable & georgous!

The huge chunk iceberg is seriously probably the size of a small bus.

06 June 2006


I'm in Juneau & two days in for the EDGE workshop about GPS, GIS mapmaking program, & of course geology.

I'll tell more details later.

Don't let the Crow Pass you by

This hike has everything! I'm even thinking of it as an annual go around.

Day 1:
The first 3 miles up the mountain was almost entirely snow hiking. My poles helped me tremendously when I would sink to my knees or thighs. Let me back up, on the trek up the mountain to go over & around to Raven Glacier you have to hike on the side of a 45 degree slope, in the snow & on skeet (slick rocks). See the two little dots off center & above the tip of the triangle patch of grass? Those are two people in front of us.

At the top there is a waterfall, a great view, a lake (frozen when we were there) & a USFS cabin.

Raven Glacier is right on the edge of the Chugach National & State parks, in the National. Shortly after leaving the National park & walking on the other slope of the mountain we had some more fun. 150'-200' snow slides! Just sit down & stop before going over the ridge. We camped on this nice huge knol in the valley where 2 rivers fork. We had a good 5-6 tents for neighbors. It was tundra like & had a spongey, moss-like quality. It was cold being in wet socks & I melted snow for water. We had to boil to make sure we wouldn't get giardia (however it's spelled). Cold going to sleep, hot waking up. Trek started at 10:30am & ended at midnight (we took 5 hours worth of breaks though! Yikes)

Day 2: Slept late & didn't get to hiking until 3:00! Our first bit... Yes! Another 200' slide in the snow. Only Christina & I were sliding, the guys (Pops & Richard) walked down. At the rivers below the snow was 4'-5' stacked on top, open in some places, hidden in others. The current was very swift & one of the rivers is glacier fed, so it's coooold.

Raven Gorge is this Huge 100' dive down into a skinny maybe 6' wide crevis. It comes out of nowhere. First the swift moving river, then boom you could die. I saw a tree & a refrigerator size chunk of ice whirling about in one place. After crossing the bridge we had to climb up the snow 5' on the opposite side. Then, it was hiking over avalanches & bolders, through high bushes & mud (my least favorite part) singing for bears 'Hi bear.' We Had to make it to the Ford that night. We camped near the river & painstakingly hung our food for the night. We won't mention Pops & the throwing of tree branches & the *gasp* 'F' word.

Day 3:
Trek begain at 12:30...
The next morning Richard managed to find the trail to where we had to ford the river. There were a lot of moose tracks on the bank too. Did I mention that we were blessed with sunny days every day? This entailed a bit of sunburn, but that's alright (once you get past the putting the pack on part). So, the river wasn't too high at knees being the highest. But, being in the water burned my skin! I couldn't imagine what it was like for the guys we talked to the day before who crossed at midnight & it was at their thighs. Plus, there's a no fire ordinance right now. bbbbbrrrrrrrr....

That day was a lot of beach-side, flat path walking & forest trails. We did get to cross a log bridge with a rope & consequently have to harnass Bailey (Christina's dog) & have him swim across. He tried the log crossing thing, but it wasn't working out for him. Oh yeah, we saw a trail runner right there too. I wonder how deep in he ran. We were at about mile 14 from Girdwood at that point. Most of the hike that day followed alongside the river. We had a couple of crossings that were over rocks on the side of the sliff & there were ropes to hold onto. This was after a ladder climb up onto some rocks. It's also where Bailey needed to be harnessed & passed over the rock.

Christina took off her pack & it tumbled into the river about 30' down. Luckily her cooler caught on a tree branch & Pops had his makeshift repelling gear.

So, after the group effort to heave out the sopping wet & heavy pack, then ring out the wet stuffs, we made camp about a mile away at Twin falls. It was an early night setting up camp at 8:00, welcomed by some after two midnight endings.

Day 4:
To be continued ...

25 May 2006

Wuz uP wit me ...

I'm in Bethel for the night. We (my Pop & I) fly to Anchorage on the am jet (7:45am departure, ugh!).

Sat. we'll start our hike on Crow's Pass. Yay! We plan on camping & hiking leisurely. After the hike we have until June 3rd to piddle, yes I said piddle, around in ANC, Seward, & Homer.

June 3-12 Pops will join me in Juneau. On the 5th I start a field based geology class (EDGE) learning about GPS & a computer map making program; that ends on the 17th. We might meet up some during that time, but he's going to be exploring the area.

June 18th I'll go to Cordova, AK (Prince William Sound, Copper River area) to take another field based class. I guess we'll leave promptly on the 19th to go to mile 25 & settle into camp. This class deals with oceanography, ecology, & wetlands study. All going back to how we can use this in the classroom.

June 23rd, I'm homeward bound to NC. I haven't been there since August of last year!

August 7th I'll be homeward bound again for AK & my 4th year teaching! Woah...

For those of you who are non-Alaskans, it's 11pm & fully bright outside.
The midnight sun has begun!

Pops 1st time in AK

Schools out. Summer's in.

My Pops came to visit the village for a couple of days. We walked just about every stitch of boardwalk there is on our side of the river. He went ice fishing (aka jigging, manaqing) for the first time & caught 3 pike, all over a foot long. We're all on ice in that jigging picture, no land for another 30 feet or so.

Our ride to the airport consisted of: walking to the post office dock, through the slush of the river, onto the needle ice, walking behind a boat, jumping in the boat as it was sliding into the water. Then, paddled over to a dock across the river, waited while the agent went to get his 4-wheeler & trailer to take us about a mile over the boardwalk on that side of the river. Fun times. I'm glad none of us fell through the ice!

My dad took the other 2 photos.

15 May 2006

C a r l

Photo take by S-Mac (by birth Sara MacDonald) 2004

This is Carl Abalama & his typical grand smile. He's always willing to make someone smile or crack a joke. A Really great kid! I was able to see Carl when we visited Quinhagak over Easter break. Unfortunately, Saturday afternoon he was acidentially shot while bird hunting with his uncle & cousin. He is the youngest son of Kathy & Curtis Abalama.

The family has been hosting a 'wake feast,' in which people bring over food, sing, and visit in the main home for 3 days after a death. This happens during all hours of the day. The body was brought from the clinic to the church to be viewed yesterday. Today his casket arrived. The funeral is tomorrow. I will be attending along with Christina and Eric and Sherry Pederson.

August 23, 1995 ~ May 13, 2006

07 May 2006


Today is my sister's birthday...

}{appy 11th birthday little sis!!!!

I love you!

10 days of school left

Yes, we have 10 days of school left & then the summer games begin. For me this means continuing to try to get them to higher reading, writing, & math levels. I am pushing those tests a little bit more. After all, we do only have this week to torture them with these! Then, it is all about record keeping for me. For them, it means games and art projects and driving me up the wall. Summer fever has definitely set in. I love them!

05 May 2006


Unlike 3 weeks ago when I went to Bethel for an uncommon 3 day, 2 night leisurely stay. Today I went to Bethel just for the day (10:10am-5:00pm).

Thursday ~
*Prep. for a sub & write sub plans. I Still hate doing this!
*Pack a light backpack to be entertained just in case I am detained anywhere.

Friday ~
*Wake up later than a typical school day.
*Watch an episode of 'Starting Over' while having breakfast.

*Freak out when it's 9:15 & I haven't heard anything from the agent. I Know that the plane leaves Bethel at 9!
*Call agent & get on his nerves the moment I say 'hi.'

*Freak out at 9:30. I just talked to the new agent & he refused to pick me up until he heard from the airline. All the while he was saying to expect the plane at 10 or 10:30, which I just knew was wrong. 10am appointment at the chiropractor's. (I know I'm more patient than this!)
*Call airline in Bethel to be told that the plane left at 9:27. Whew! But, they don't have my name listed on the flight & the flight is full. What?!

*Freak out at 9:40 when I hear a plane overhead. I was hoping that if it was Yute I could hop on, but I didn't have a ride to the airport. Just as I started to call Bethel to see if it was them, the Hageland agent beeps in saying he's going to pick me up.
*Stopped being a freak.

*Picked up to ride a sled behind a snow machine. It's been warm at 30-40 degrees all week, so we have a lot of melt action. Aka deep slush on the river on top of a layer of ice on top of flowing river beneath.
*Drenched by the time I get to the airport a mile away. Very glad I have a good coat & wore the snow pants. Tomatoe plants are seriously tramatized from being taken out of the hydroponics unit, bumped about on the sled & now they're in for a plane ride.

Arrived at my chiropractor's appointment 20 minutes late & he could care less. I loved my first session! All the cracking is cool. He even hooked me up to send some sticky electric pads to relax my muscles. There was also this table that had rollers go down my spine to stretch the vertebrae a bit. To boot my insurance pays 90%, so my bill will be around $20.
Off to drop off my precious tomatoe plants that I grew from seeds. The tallest one is about 2 feet. I gave them to Sara's dad because I'm not taking them with me for the summer.

*I see Sara's mom at her house & she tells me they are having Yup'ik foods at the LKSD district office. Then, she hands me a dish & tells me to take it down to the car, I'll go have lunch with them before my dentist appointment.
*Upon arrival at the D.O. I see a few people that I haven't been able to talk to of haven't seen for a while. Ate food, chatted a lot with a some people (new & old), ordered an NYO shirt.

Jump after looking at the clock because I'm due at the dentist's office at 1. I've been trying to see this man since September, at least! But, at this point I have one other person I have to say hello to & I have to call a cab. Yes, I called to tell him I was going to be late.
Arrive at Dr. White's office. "Ready kiddo?" I had a filling replaced & bought one of those crazy big toothbrushes that massage your gums while you brush.

Cabbed it to the Bethel Family Clinic. I had to get a form signed saying I had a physical a month ago. Otherwise, LKSD was going to send out the dogs after me. Done.
Cabbed it to the YKHC (hospital) business building to get a receipt from an ER visit. Last time I went to the ER my insurance paid for my plane tickets. So, I'm going to try to get another $80 out of my insurance company.

*Walked across the street to the main hospital to go to the release of information office. They have what I need, but they have to mail it to me.
*Cabbed it to the craft store that is going out of business because of their $3000/ rent not inculding utilities (the lavish life in Bethel). There I bought some beeds & lovely ivory & muskox horn earings shaped like Uluqs.

Walked to the ajacent grocery store to pick up some milk, grapes, lettuce, & goodies to bring back as little presents.
Back at the airport to go home. I saw a couple from Quinhagak there, so we were able to chat until 5 when I left.

I find out that we're having a staff appreciation pizza party. Put away milk, etc. & trudge up to the school hoping that I don't loose my shoe when I sink into the soft snow past my knees. Walk flat, walk flat I keep telling myself.
*Shop online for camping gear after our sware'. I begin this virtual expedition at school & then I relocated to Jenny's apartment. I still didn't buy anything until Sat., errrr, early Sun. am.

Go home to unload my backpack some & start the snow machine to go over to Sara's in Akiuk, one of our neighboring villages 2.5 miles away. Luckily Eric was there to start it for me. I still have not mastered that blasted pull start! We followed Eric over.
Funny how driving a snow machine over deep slush in places can feel like a jet ski. Basically I tried to keep the speedometer at 30 over the sludge. Once we (Christina was on the machine with me) hit some dryer snow boy did the speed pick up quickly! That was fun! At this point in the year, I'm pretty comfortable after hearing that the ice hasn't broken through yet. The ice shelf is actually still thick enough because it's just been slowly melting & rising. Once it gets thin, then it will start opening up the river at the surface again.

*Played a mad game of Settler's of Catan. We changed the rules a bit, on of which was that the winner had to play All of their pieces first. This was a three hour game. Chocolate banana bread (Sara's specialty), red grapes, & hot tea were our treats for the evening.

Saturday ~
Drove back to Nunap, which was a bit more unpredictable due to not being able to see as far ahead.
*Watched another recorded episode of 'Starting Over' with Christina while she started some laundry.

*Watched some actual music videos on vh1. KT Tunstall rocks!!!

25 April 2006

Week 9 ~ No More Babies in the H2O

Holy cow! It's been 9 weeks since I planted their little seeds. The one tomatoe plant seems to be doing so much better & now the other one is stunted. One of the cabbages is just growing like crazy. Another one is too, but I topped the flower & it's grown straight up since then. Another flower is growing, so I won't snip it & I'll see how it does. The two other cabbage are growing, but slower than the others. The lettuce hasn't died, it just hasn't grown hardly at all since that first salad. Perplexion has set in ... hhmmmm. Is perplexion even a word? It is now. And yes, these babies have been growing with a flouresent light only. (I've had issues with the HP & metal halide lights & the system I have.)

17 April 2006

Visiting Quin. again

So, we had a long weekend for Easter. I decided to go down to Quinhagak for a spring visit. Christina & Jenny decided to join me. It was almost a perfect visit. I was able to see a lot of people. I maqik-ed (steamed) every night. One night the stove was So hot that the top of the stove was red! It had to be 300 in there. I visited the school & I was able to see most of the kids I taught. I even got to know some of the new teachers better. We were actually weathered in an extra night, which wasn't that bad.

Jenny, Justin & I went iceberg hopping down at the bay. The ice was still frozen out on the bay near a mile from shore. Then there were the icebergs. The day was just perfect!

By the way, the photos of Justin & myself were beautifully taken by Jenny. I took the one of her leaping. All rights reserved.

12 April 2006

Crow's Pass & Juneau Countdown

So, I've decided to commit to hiking the 26 mile Crow Pass trail to Eagle River. It passes by a glacier & part of it is the Iditarod trail. I'll be joining my roomy, Christina, Richard, my Pops, old roomy, Sara, and Jenny. The plan is to start May 29th-?. Hopefully it will only take 3 days with our not so in shape crew.

Cool, mamma-cat, cool!

Check out the links:


Afterwards, I'm off to Juneau for a fabulous geology class about GPS's & a GIS mapping program. I'll be there June 4-17! My fingers are crossed for climbing up a glacier like they did last year.


03 April 2006

Week 6! ~ Hydroponics 101

The poor lettuce & tomatoes are struggling a little bit. Someone said they think I have spider mites. I hope now that I've changed the water completely & rearranged the plants to get more light they'll do better. They also said that tobacco water will kill the mites. Now I just need to find someone who smokes.

OK, I did bum a cigarete but I haven't used it. I cut off the bad leaves & sprayed them with a weak solution of distiled water, tea tree oil & lavendar essential oil. My fingers are crossed (X).

02 April 2006

Tununak & Eskimo Dancing

It's about a mile's hike up to these stone pillars from the village at an elevation of about 900'. It took about 30 minutes to get to the top on the snowy & icey tundra. A hike much needed! I'm doing some research about the stories that surround these stone people.

Tununak is a village of about 300 people, 100 of which are students. On the other side of that pillar is of the bay, frozen & breaking up because the temps. are now just above freezing (aka it's hot at 35 degrees around here).

Wiinga in front of the bay.

I went to Tununak (on Nelson Island NW of Nunap. & Bethel) for an Eskimo dance festival, Kevgiq. Only the surrounding villages, Tooksook Bay & Nitemute, & Nunapitchuk dancers were able to make it. Our plane was the only one that landed & the others came by snow-machine.

I actually came seperate than the dance team, because they had another certified teacher with them. Let me back it up a little bit. Christina & I drove down to Bethel on the snow-machine after school on Friday. It was a B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L ride down! The sky was clear & sunny & the trail was well traveled. I seriously don't know how people navigate without a GPS for that 15 mile stretch between Atmauthluk & Bethel during a white-out, where you can only see 15 or so feet in front & snow drifts change your path or wipe away the trail! Riding by faith. So, I went to the aitport to learn that Tununak's airstrip wasn't landable for the evening except by the Twin Otter plane, which the Nunap. dancers were on. So, I stayed the night in Bethel & went on the 9:00 (aka the 9:40 or whenever) flight. It took about an hour to get there so it was probably 80ish miles NW from Bethel. It was clear most of the way there so I could see the hills & the bay clearly. Oh, I was able to see Muskox too. They were just kind of hanging out. Imagine buffallo on grassy plains, but smaller & on snowy hills. I saw a patch of 5. Then, we (the pilot, Keith, & I) saw around 20.

Once I got there I just walked the mile or less from the airport to the school. Well, I was intercepted close to the store by a woman selling 'crafts.' She was selling baskets. She took me to her house to look at these baskets she made. I bought one.

I *heart* Tununak.

12 March 2006

Hydroponics101 - week 3

It should be only be another 2 weeks & I expect to start harvesting some of the cabbage. The lettuce should be mature another week after that. The tomatoes won't be mature until they're 4-6 feet tall (yikes!) so I' don't know how long that is going to take.

Top left & back right -- crimson tomatoes
4 left, behind the tomato -- Chinese cabbage
4 left, in front of tomato -- buttercrunch lettuce

Current Affairs

5 Dogs
Three weekends ago (I think) I was the care taker of 5 dogs, yes 5. Two were tied up outside all of the time, so all I had to do was feed them. One is in my house (my roommate was gone). The other two slept inside at night. One of them was put out during the day & the other was in heat so I had to keep her on a leash & bring her back in. The Pederson's own 4 of those dogs. They went to Anchorage for the weekend & Dr. appointments. It was going to be six dogs, but one of the teachers ended up staying. It was kind of fun; I felt like I was getting out & doing something.

Wind Storms
We've had some awesome wind storms lately. The wind will blow constantly all day. Throw in some snow & some great snow drifts have formed changing the landscape dramatically. I wish I could take a decent photo, but it just ain't happenin' with the wind blowing out there. I'll try to remember when the wind stops blowing, which might be tomorrow. Day-to-day weather can be so different, here.

Dog Mushing
This week our village hosted some dog mushing races. The big race on Friday, with 8 contestants, was canceled due to increasing ground storms. Saturday we were lucky to see 100 feet away at times. I don't know what this will mean for the folks who came in from villages afar. But, hopefully I won't be gone for the weekend when the races resume.

Things at school have been rather busy with trying to make sure things are in order. Our quarter ends soon & we have parent/teacher conferences on Saturday.

My Jr. High pedagogy days are quickly coming to a full stop this Thursday. Can I get an A-men! Our '8th period' funding is coming to an end, the state tests are soon, we have cultural week & parent/teacher conferences 'round the corner. So, this will be the end of my days as a sometimes Jr. High teacher... until next year ... maybe. All told, it's been a great learning experience.

NYO practices have started up again & we'll start traveling soon. Actually there are two more travels on the agenda. Akula is a snow machine ride away & the meet is next weekend. Chefornak is hosting the district meet & it's in 3 weeks maybe. I'm excited to go there because I haven't been there before. I pray for good weather, as always. I'll bring extra clothes & my computer just in case.

Mainly I entertain myself. Kidding. I've been maintaining the hydroponics unit, which is so low maintanence. Two weekends ago I played in a basketball tournament. Otherwise, Tuesday is the night for ladies to play. We always have a blast, laughing & cheering each other on. Still loving it! This weekend I've had a lot of quality time visiting with people, listening to the radio, dinner, tea & talking. Good times! Right now, I'm over at Sara's (old Quin. roomy) house in the neighboring village (2.5 miles away). It's just a nice bumpy snow-machine ride over on the freshly blown in powder. It's nice to be able to have the liberty to travel to see a friend so close.

On the agenda I have making a winter qaspeq (Yup'ik style shirt), studying for my AK Studies class, & keeping the hydroponics up. The AK Studies class is interesting, but I think it would be so much better if I were in a class with people to discuss things. I have tons of mail that needs to go out. The Eskimo dancers have been practicing for about 2 months now. They'll be traveling to Tununak in 2 weeks & I think I'm going to join them. I'll have to pay for my own ticket, but it should be worth it. Things to do for school is always on the list.

08 March 2006

Week 2 ~ Hydroponics 101

Aren't they beautiful!!! They are only 14 days old & started from seedlings!

27 February 2006

Day 7 ~ Hydroponics101

Buttercrunch lettuce

Crimson tomato

Chinese cabbage

09 February 2006


Yes! This is it; it's my very own snow-go. Well, my very own as well as my roommates very own. We bought it together.

I've driven it a couple times since Christina's boyfriend, Richard, delivered it last Saturday. I took them to the airport on Sunday, which is about a mile drive. Then, last night I took a friend home in the neighboring village, Kasigluk. This is about a 10 mile drive & we left after 10 pm. The wind was going so at times it was hard to see 5 feet in front of me. Luckily, Eric (another teacher aka Elf-man) escorted us, because I haven't been there before. The trail is so well marked though with bushed & posts with reflectors scattered about every 10 feet all the way there. Most of the time I was driving with one hand. The other was up to block the snow from stinging my face. Thank goodness for goggles!

Yay! It's official - I have a snow machine!

Next is the trip to Bethel at 30 miles away (about a 1 hour trip on a typical day).

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

{Have a prosporous new year!}

It's the year of the Dog folks, in the lunar new year that is. To many people in China & other Asian countries this means their first & last break from work all year. To Christina & I, it means we're combining our 1st-2nd grade class with the Jr. High class for fun times.

31 January 2006

Faster, faster...

Ahhh, the 'master cleanse!'

fresh organic lemon juice (5 a day), water, maple syrup (grade B), cayanne pills --- All & all it wasn't so hard to drink 60-100 oz a day. My body never felt hungry once. But, my mind, now that's a different story. I craved chewing, weird. Days 7-9 were the hardest & it was intermittant.

So, I've finally made it the whole 10 days. Last time I only made it to 6, but I know what the problems were. I'm toxic free now, right? Riiiiight; I know those parasites & such are just waiting to burrow back in. :-p

Everyone should try this at least once. It's good fo' da body & min'!

23 January 2006


This was supposed to be of the Golden Gate Bridge (San Fran., CA), but it ended up being just golden streaks. I like the picture anyway.

We were on our way to take a friend of Christina's back towards Berkley after eating at the Matterhorn fondue restaurant. Needless to say her lovely friend isn't the best with directions, which is why she took the train into the city in the first place. She said to go North on 101 because that's the way she always takes to come into the city. but, she lives on the South side of San Fransisco. This would make my 4th time over the Golden Gate.

20 January 2006


This was a post in our staff folder today.

"Changed the Cold Weather Travel to use the New Wind Chill Temperature Chart: Student travel will not be allowed at temperatures below –30 degrees Fahrenheit except by jet. Ground travel (car, snowmachine) by students between villages will not be allowed if the temperature including chill factor is below –25 degrees Fahrenheit. Air travel (expect by jet) by students will not be allowed if the temperature including chill factor is below –35 degrees Fahrenheit. http://www.lksd.org/board/actions0102.htm"

I guess Yahoo said that the wind chill in Bethel is -47 now.

14 January 2006


Step back, we have a volcano fully errupting after 20 years! I guess yesterday Augustine volcano errupted 5 times & it may not be finished yet.

Alaska Airlines canceled 43 flights yesterday & 23 flights today because of the ash in the air. Some schools are closing because of smoke & ash. The volcano is about 60 miles away from Homer, Alaska.

Go to the Alaska Volcano Observatory website to see the latest updates http://www.avo.alaska.edu

08 January 2006

35 hour Sunday

So, our 11 hour flight back to America from Hong Kong placed us in Cali. 1 hour before we left... giving us a 35 hour Sunday.

07 January 2006

Pinkie & the Brain ... wait, that ain't right

You like the new look?

Along with this one, I bought a long black wig to be used as a prop celebrating the Lunar New Year with our students (my class mixed with Jr. High).

It's the year of the Dog ... ruff!

Hong Kong Hodown

There are a lot of these around the city. I hear that they're little blessing alters to bless the house of whoever lives above street level.

This is the Chinese symbol for vegitarian food.

This scaffolding was built out of bamboo with little plastic ties. This guy was breaking it down, throwing polls onto the street.

I just liked these brooms. I didn't get a picture of the ones in Thailand, but they were of horse hair or some kind of animal hair.

Wall-O-Fish (fish for sale)

These mohawk turtles were too cute.