21 December 2007

F l e e

As Fran at the White House (my favorite B&B in Bethel) was talking, he inspired me with the title...

This is the time of year when many teachers on this Lower Kuskokwim delta wish to bolt at the sound of the last bell... if we had bells in our schools. I must admit that I've jumped on that bandwagon & been yelling "giddy-up" the whole way out. No, it wasn't that bad .... This week at school was hell, but by today we were chill in the classroom, so that was a good ending. There were some delays leaving, but I made it past my first, of maybe 5 legs to get back to NC for C-mas. Tomorrow I'm going to Anchorage for a couple of days. Then, I head out for NC at the chipper hour of 6am on the 24th. Shockingly, I will make it to NC the same day, by 10pm (*knocking on wood*), stay the night at my aunt & uncle's & ride with them to my G'ma's on the main day. On the 26th My mom, sis' & I are moving on out towards Austin, TX to visit another aunty. Upon my return to NC, I'll be making my rounds in Asheville with Tammy et al. riding the waves into the new year of 2008. Then, back to the hometown to hang with the select homeslices & my bro. Did I mention I get 3 weeks for a winter break? I'm so lucky!

01 December 2007


I spent my Thanksgiving break in Bethel & Kong (short for Kongiganak... Is that spelled right? It's much harder to say than spell.) Maria, my roommate, used to live there for 6 years. So, I decided to tag along when she said she was visiting. Maria took the group photo without her in it. She took some good photos, but I don't have them on my computer.

This is most of my class this year. I now have 16! They're a quick, fun group.

02 September 2007

Toksook Bay visit

Toksook Bay, a village of about 600 (220 are students, not including Head Start), is on Nelson Island, NW of Bethel & Nunapitchuk by about 100 miles. There once was volcanic activity here; Imagine rolling green & blonde hills, hugged by the crisp bay, an occasional herd of Muskox snacking on the berries, I'm sure. The island is relatively small, so on the flight in I could see Tununak on the other side too. Remember the 'stone people' photos from spring 2 years ago?

I'm here in Toksook with a couple of boys for the cross-country meet. (Despite 19 odd kids coming to practice here & there, 2 have been committed enough to do double practices for almost a week, hence the 2 traveling.) Three other teams from villages have extended their stay an extra night with us. The village is also having the black berry festival, so there have been fiddle dances, Yurraq (Eskimo dancing by several different villages), arts & crafts sales (couldn't find it). Contests for qaspaqs (Eskimo shirt), a paddle boat race (supposed to be announced over the vhf, no vhf), bike (no word about when or where), "fun run" for anyone who wanted to run 5K, berry picking contest. It's been rather nice, with a lot of breaks from the overcast or night showers with sunny skies & a nice breeze. The hill-side is just littered with berries everywhere. I expected the water at the beach to be frigid, but it was semi-cold to the touch; I could keep my hand in there for a little bit anyway. It's so energizing.

It's also been nice to see some folks I haven't seen in a while (other coaches-Amanda from Goodnews, Ox & Marty - NYO coaches, Deanna & Vikki from Akiuk 2.5 m. away from Nunap.) & meeting new people from the Toksook staff & Bethel. There's a huge movie screen w/ projector, almost as big as Quin's & the kids have been playing an x-box using that screen. What a dream that is!

So now I'm off to bed because we're getting up early to go on a hike to the ridge of the hill where the 'stone people' (stone carrions) are.

Photos to come...

28 August 2007

Lunar Eclipse

My new roommate, Maria, & I stayed awake for he lunar eclipse last night, well 1:30-2:30 this am. We also had lightning which looked like it was huge flash coming from the ground & it was soundless. The northern lights were active & looked like a mint green smear getting bigger the higher it went. There was one part which moved, rippling through the air. The milky way was just over head & the stars were magnificent with such little moon light. The moon had an amber overtone. There was also a very chilly wind whisping around us. The dogs were howling away at certain times, you could hear the river water hit against the dock, & there was a bit of chatter from some other folks out watching the night's sky.

Otherwise, things are kind of stressful, but it's the beginning of the school year. Even though I only have 14 students (yay!) the diversity is like a multi-grade class, just two years. I'm coaching cross-country with an all boy team. We've been pulling double practices (7:30am & 4pm) + a Sat. practice so that some will be eligible to play. They need 10 to be able to travel. Also, my online class started last week, lots of reading but it's interesting. This class is nutrition, bodycare, & herbalism & will last 6 mon. That's it for now...

14 August 2007

Say "Cheese!"


"Hey everybody!" (If you haven't seen "The Simpson Movie" get in your car & go now. Ok, back on subject...)

From the above website you can see the near 200 photos that I've uploaded. I even put captions with some of them. Go to the 'pics' link under my photo. You should be able to view them even if you don't have a MySpace account.

20 June 2007

MORE things I love about Greece...

* People from Germany, Switzerland, France & the US sitting at a table together on an island in Greece.

* During that traditional dance, feeling like I've taken a step back in time.

* Changing on the beach & people thinking nothing of it; everyone has to change right?

* Glyko tou koutaliou stafyli, a traditional dessert which is small berries that I've never seen before drenched in honey. For that matter, the fig ice cream with pine reisin, yum!!

* The click-clack of Komboli, worry beads, in the hand of every 10th man down the street. Flip, click-clack, click-clack. Flip...

* The safe feeling of being in a familiar neighborhood.

.... to be continued...

Things I love about Greece!

* The scenery. I didn't expect it to be so arid or for the water to be ascold. Handsome Greek men who look like a statue could be carved by looking atthem, also part of the scenery. There are more mountains than I expected &the wind blows a lot on the islands, which makes you forget how hot it Reallyis.* Bottled water from local springs.

* The food ... It's fresh (which is a luxury for me now) & regional (always aplus) & simple (enjoy food as it is, right).

* Free Ouzo, Raki, & food.

* Wine served form a barrel.

* Hearing, "Hello beautiful, what can I do for you?"

* When telling someone that we're teachers, people all but bowing down in ourpresence. We are celebrities.

* I have such a "charming & engaging travel partner." & by that I mean thatI'm seeing ALL sides of Jenny. (hint: always know where a coffee shop is!)

* Internet Cafe's that charge 2.50E an hour.

* The Unbearable Lightness of Being Kundera... a book I'm obsessed with, thanksto Jenny. Kurt Vonnegut is next on my list, after my next book, thanks toJenny again.* Cobble streets with designs made out of rocks.

*Welcomed stray dogs & cats.

*My new dress.

* Dancing with strangers to traditional songs & feeling like we've know eachother for ages.

* Seeing & being in the presence of ruins from civilizations that are fromthousands of years BC. The quality of their work is unmatched by our presentday frame of mind which is 'build without character.'

* A sandy beach (there are a lot of pebble beaches).

* The next stop...

13 June 2007

Hania (Xania, Chania), Crete Island

Remember how I told you that I'd back up. I didn't quite go all the way. I'll tell you a little bit about Epidavros & then about how we finally got to Crete (cret-E).

'Epi' means multiplication & 'davros' means sound waves. There is an amazing theatre which any entertainer would love to perform in.

.... I'll have to come back to this later.

Delphi & Nafplio

We have landed on the Island Crete, in Hania, after much debunk-tion. Let me back up & tell you a bit about Delphi & Nafplio & then I will tell you where we are now.

Delphi: This place was rightfully named 'the navel of the earth.' It was named this because Zeus released 2 eagles on either side of the world & they met there. There are remnants upon remnants of the buildings from this site. It's truly magical to think about people coming together to build such a quality place; the energy just builds as you are there. The photo of the imaginary once was is incredible. The museum had a lot of great pieces that are well preserved & they're not all behind glass & velvet ropes; there's an unsaid respect to not touch the objects (& people in every room with laser guns). You won't regret going to see this 'spirit of place.'

Nafplio (meaning Navy, ships): Jenny & I unknowingly went on dates in this original capital of Greece. Let me start from the beginning. One of the great things about Nafplio is that it has loads of stairs & alleyways 8'-10' wide on the Venetian style housed old side of town. The alleys are littered with vined flowers, mostly pink, which link balconies on both sides of the alley & allow a flowered walkway for you. They are used for shops, restaurant tables, walking, & driving cars & scooters. There are 3 fortresses, 2 land bound & 1 island. We stayed at a hostel, Dimitris Bekas, which felt like a flat where we lived among locals & looked over the water. The hostel was at the highest you could go with the stairways & right below the oldest fortress in Nafplio. To the E we could see Palamidi fortress, which claims to have 999 stairs to the church. I stopped counting at 917 when we arrived at the top. I didn't know where the church was until later.

Let me tell you a story. Saturday we went to a Taverna for dinner & while finishing the last bit of our red house wine (a daily dinner ritual so far) we were brought another 0.5 liter on the house. Enjoying the traditional music & before 1/2 way through that we were offered another 0.5 liter of wine & asked over to a table of 6, mind you this is in one of those 10' alleys. We joined a group of cats our age. Introducing ourselves, the 2 girls of the group were very good with English: 1 is an English professor & the other a lawyer. One other older guy, George, was
pretty good with English, but not as talkative as the girls. Whew, I need to make this short, or you won't read all of it. So, we had some akward moments with not being able to understand some of the conversation. That was ok; we're used to it being immersed in a Yup'ik village, right. One of the guys was being very flirty with Jenny. We had lots of clinking of wine glasses cheers, singing & dancing at the table. The ladies invited us to go to the islands with them the next day, but we wanted to go to Epidavros & so it was decided that we meet the next day for dinner, same taverna. The girls invited us.

to be called 'Hellas'When we went back, only 2 of the guys met us, the one that is Smitten with Jenny & his friend & old boss George. They are civil engineers, well Leftaris will be soon. So, even though it was akward Jenny & I had drinks with them & then met their group of 30 or so (out of 50) for dinner, music & dancing. One of the guys at our table the previous night plays the accordian & there were 2 others with a clarinet & a small drum. We ate, we drank, we danced with the big group. There were several types of dances, mostly to the beat of 3, but we only danced the one that is like a swirl of people arms raised, feet tapping, & smiles. It was loads of fun. All the while though, Jenny is being proposed affections of love & the wantin to marry, holding hands, arm around her, etc. They told us they were not like the men who hunt little beautiful fish & spear them. They invited us to stay in their homes when we are in that area. Jenny, I hope this does you justice. n She was very polite, but also pushed his hand away & moved his arm. George said that Leftaris is inexperienced, clearly. They're from a village outside of Mt. Olympus, so it kind of makes sense. It didn't feel threatening, but it was uncomfortable. They walked us home, well 1/2 way because there were too many stairs, we said goodbyes & then Jenny allowed the feminist in her to vent about how he can possibly think he can posses her by throwing his arm around her, etc. Somehow this doesn't quite capture the essence. Through this we also learned a lot about the Greek language & history from their perspective. For instance, they really prefer instead of Greeks, because that name was given to them by the Turks & refers to someone of a lower standard. George tapped the back of his neck to explain this. We had to read a lot of body language.

....to be continued.


First of all, I have to say that Athens Backpacker hostel is soo savy! It's right smack in the middle of a good end of town, including within walking distance from a lot of cool sites & the metro. Like many places in central Athens you can see the Acropolis from the rooftop bar.

Yesterday, I arrived at the hostel before Jenny & before checkin. I was so tired I crashed on the couch for 2 1/2 hours. After settling in we went out to walk around & get our berrings. We ended up getting into a couple of monument places free, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Arch of Hadrian, & Acroplolis. It was Global Environmental day so they were letting people in for free all day. We ate great food & heard some great live Greek music. Nevermind that it took us 1 1/2 hours of looking for a particular place to eat because we were turned around with our map. Once we knew we were reading the map correctly, we decided to eat elsewhere. :-) Today, we went with a group from the hostel to walk about for a couple of hours & ate our first real Gyros, lamb.

It's interesting how familiar some things seem & how foreign the language feels & looks. I'm usually pretty good with new languages, but I'm having a hard time with this one. I know how to say thank you though (phonetically, a-FAR-east-ro). There are tons of stray dogs |& cats. We were told that if the dogs have a tag then they have been nuttered & deemed safe & released. The cats come around a lot, even at the outside restaurants, but none so far have been bothersome, just quiet eyed begging. There were some boys biking around on the streets & it felt very familiar to me. It seem like village standards where the kids bacially roam around where they please. Although, here there are very narrow streets & motorcycles, mopeds, scooters, cars, buses (electirc & gas). Seeing these ancient century upon centry old ruins juxtaposed among clay tiled roofs, cars |& glass buildings has been interesting at every glance.

Tomorrow we're going to Delphi, the navel of the world. It'll be a 3 hour bus ride each way. We'll spend another night here & then head down to Napfilo the next day. Napfilo was actually the original capital of Greece until it's Independance (from Turkey, i'm guessing-I'll find out).

29 May 2007

the SAGE state

Hi cronies & fams! I've missed you!! (I've had a time with my blogger password & username, let me tell you.)

I've been in b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l Colorado since Sunday. My Pops picked me up at the airport & we went to Boulder where a co-worker/friend of mine lives. We bunked there a couple of nights relaxing & going on a small 3 mile, 3 hour hike. Right now we're in Carbondale, outside of Glenwood Springs, awaiting our post-dawn departure for Maroon Bells. We'll be oohing, huffing, admiring & cursing that 29 mile pass over the next 4 days: It will be a blasT! Wish us luck & manageable weather. The drive from Boulder here was Very interesting: rain with hail, rain, sleet, fatter sleet, rain, sunshine until sunset. Funny, I thought I left the state of fickle weather.

Countdown: 6 days until Greece.

P.S. I really want to buy property here (maybe the Boulder area): The quest begins.

Finally P-h-o-t-o-s!!!

This is our gas station. Fill 'er up! Just a mere $4.50 a gallon. (haha, no link, just kidding...)
(Above) This is a typical ride to & fro our airport during boating season.

(Look down) This was on my birthday, during the feast. I invited anyone from the community who wanted to come & eat. We had 150+ folks come & dine. Some of the guys hooked up their mini-amps & played about 1/2 of the 8 hour feast.

Ok, Blogger isn't letting me edit how I like, so I'm going to type the rest of the captions down here. Finally, I got a class photo: 3 kids are missing from our clan, Eliza on the left is the regular aide in our class. We took this photo for pen pals, so Sue is in the photo too. She's Peter's mother & visited for the last 2 1/2 weeks of school, living at our house & working with me in the classroom. The kids are reading their pen pal letters in the other photo.

And, TA DA, we have 5 graduates this year, which is Quite an accomplishment. Two are going to college at UAFairbanks in the fall.

~All of these photos were taken by Suzanne Fee (the only blonde), except for the ones you see her in. Peter too the one of her on the boat & Sara (lovingly otherwise known as S-Mac) took the class photo. Thanks!~

02 April 2007

C a m a i

(A Yup'ik greeting, meaning 'what can I do for you?')

Even though the weather was just above freezing (ie. the snow begins to melt & is slushy in spots) Jenny & I headed down to Bethel for the famous Camai dance festival. Yup'ik Eskimo dancers from all over the state join. As well, folks from St. Lawrence Island (near Russia), Hawaii, Arizona, & Mexico came to share different styles of dancing, including Flamingo (Spanish), Hula, modern narrative contemporary. We even had a local tap team from Akula, our neighbors. A friend, Sara, danced with some family from Kotlic also. It was great fun seeing these live performances from such talented, in tune people!

Here is the link so that you can see the Nunapitchuk dancers:

Once I figure out how to use this Dell with photos I'll post some.

21 March 2007

"}{ere comes the sun..."

Because light is the facination of most humans, both internal & external, I thought I'd post a bit about the lumination in Nunapitchuk, Alaska.

It's not quite the midnight sun yet, but we're quickly approaching. But, it is 9:15 & we have full on twilight. It's supposed to be 12 hours daylight on the Spring Equinox day.

P.S. In case you haven't noticed, I'm just copy-catting the MySpace blog entries... Mostly different audiences. :-)

17 March 2007

Juneau calling

For those of you who haven't been to Juneau in the season of snow - you're missing out. Imagine those beautiful 50'+ spruce trees weighted down with wet, fluffy snow. It's still falling now to go along with the unusual snowy summit of this season.

Two students (jr. high & HS) & I arrived Thurs. night. Our trek is for the EDGE (experiential discoveries & geoscience edu.) science fair symposium. The girls were to create a project utilizing the GPS & ArcMap (a GIS system). This is an extension from workshops that we took separately this summer; & it's the finale' (bitter sweet... or is it sweet & bitter ...).

OH! It's St. Patrick's day... }{appy Patrick's to the saint! May your merriness not allow you to be green tomorrow.

OH, NO! That's right, I have carried my faithful laptop of 3 years along for this wonderous ride. Last night & tonight it stays in the abyss, with a blank screen & a full battery. I'm hoping that it's a screen issue & not a HD issue (4000ish iTunes songs await this fate... send the music good vibes). Now I have some 'training weight' for the Greece/Turkey feat this June.

Have I mentioned that it's 3:45am?

20 February 2007


So, was a blizzardy Sunday of No traveling. Yesterday, after the pitter patter of children's feet left my classroom, I shimmied out the door to bolt from school early. Christina's snow machine, shared between her & Richard, awaited our arrival to Bethel. Christina, Shaun, & I debarked at 4:30. 57 minutes & 7 million bumps later... Snow-go retrieved & reved we went to buy groceries, in a real grocery store, where you can actually walk around & touch the goods.

As I lugged my backpack full of goodies to the machine to strap down there stood Sara & Maria (neighbors in the village 2.5 miles away). We had planned to go together on Sunday, but neither of our parties knew the other were going yesterday. We also saw a couple of folks from Quinhagak (a 5 hour trek), who were maddly headed back home. Wow! 1 stop at Subway, 2 foot longs paid for, 1/4 eaten, 5 snow machines ready to go, 7:00 towards home. One the way out I saw a few people from Nunap. who had come in to shop also.

On the way home the sunset was so beautiful with the cresant moon & North star shining; it looked like a painting. Villages look like major cities at night, from 10 miles away on a snow-go, a beacon on the massive tundra.

I love having a snow machine as my main means (well on land) of transportation. Who needs a car?

BOOTED off MySpace

Yes folks, you've read it right. Our school district is booting all of us off MySpace 24/7. As it stands, right now we only have access after 5pm, which has been fine.

So, the only time I'll have access to MySpace is when I'm not milking the district Internet service.

It's been fun...

BTW --- I've started thinking of summer plans. Pops & I may hike in Zion & Bryce Canyon UT May 20-27. Jenny (villigous exodus) & I are going to trek around Greece & Turkey for the month of June. There will be a stop in WI (around the 21st) for a wedding (Sara & Shaun) & to visit Cindy & Keiran in Madison. The end of July beholds my 19th year annual trip to Pawley's Island with Pops side of the family. Then, my first day back at school is August 15th; that's our first meeting anyway. All the inbetween time will be well spent in NC. Yes. Yes, I realize it's only February & I'm planning. :-P

Love the lover,

P.S. I tried & tried to post this on MySpace.... bleh on filters!

26 January 2007

Holy Shnow

No picture I could take would do this justice, maybe video. But, I don't have a video camera.

School was canceled yesterday because of a -54 temp. including 30 mph winds. It was pretty constant all day long. I could barely see past the water pipe, which is 50' away from our house. There's some good competition today, right now. Horizontal snow is always fun. We have some great snow drifts in the making.

P.S. Our arctic porch has officially earned it's name again this year, as our front door will not shut. Luckly we have another!

22 January 2007

swish, swosh, zip, swish...

I went skiing for the third time in my life yesterday. The powder was very soft, which was cumbersome at times. But, at least it wasn't icey. I did stay out there for around an hour. I'm working my way up to being able to visit my friend 2.5 miles away. Good times.

08 January 2007

On Top of the World!!!

Yes, folks I've arrived safely in Barrow. I am on top of the world!

I was nervous upon checking the weather for Barrow the other day b/c it said -21, but feels like -41 b/c of wind chill. But, it was walkable weather yesterday without a proper hat or gloves & no snow pants. My hopes are the same for today (no wind), because I want to go to the heritage center, etc. No Nothern Lights thusfar; I'm still looking. I noticed the moon when I arrived yesterday & was cabbing it over to Jody's house at 11am. Many of you wonder about the light; it actually gets to be like a very light dawn in the middle of the day. I've seen some beautiful pictures of polar bears, though none in person, as of yet. Everything here is frosty; like the hoar fost that just wraps itself around everything. Jody is well & filling me in on all of the North Slope drama; they aren't lacking up here fo' sho'.

I awoke this am at 4:30 after falling asleep around 8p. I spent 2 hours reading more of Eldest (I'm about to break into the 400s, yay... only 270 pages to go) & still couldn't sleep. So, you find me, or I find you, on MySpace, etc... I feel so productive; I should have this regime everyday.

I debark from Barrow on the 10th, stopping at Deadhorse on the way. Then, I'll be staying in Anchorage a couple of nights @ Dimond before going back to Nunap. I dread lesson planning, but at least I have almost another week before I have to do it, right.

P.S. I am, yet again, without luggage. Really the value of toothpaste & fresh colthes is overrated. The bag is in Anchorage & hopefully will come on the am jet today. Rarr! (& fingers crossed) :-)
P.S.S. This is a blatent copy & paste from MySpace :-p