29 December 2009

Doublethink




"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself - that was ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed."
~ Orwell, George. 1984. 1949. Page 35.

Now that's a sentence! 1984 is our third book in the Erudite Squadron of the Tundra Triangle aka book club. This book has long been on my "To Read" list, yet it hasn't substantiated until now. My immediate impression of "doublethink" and "doublespeak" is how I feel trying to make sense of news, politics, and current affairs, as well as history. But, maybe "doublethink" is more like Zen and the art of controlling the ever active minds to be still, in nothingness. The quote is from chapter III, so I'm just tickling my toes in the water right now.

22 November 2009

Crux



We just had our first Tundra Triangle book club meeting, or Eggheads as my Grandmother would call it. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2001) was the book of choice. Often, I wonder about where the author is coming from and what hints they give to the reader of that while supporting ideas/plot/themes in the text... Sometimes this causes me to loose my focus on the story itself. It is what it is. I delved into both aspects with this book, I hope. I won't go into a review just yet; though, among other tidbits this passage is what stuck with me.


"Our encounters always leave me weary of the glum contentment that characterizes my life. What were those words he used that struck me? Ah yes, 'dry, yeastless factuality', 'the better story'. I take out a pen and paper and write:
Words of divine consciousness: moral exhaultation; lasting feelings of elevation, elation, joy; a quickening of the moral sense, which strikes one as more important than an intellectual understanding of things; an alignment of the universe along moral lines, not intellectual ones; a realization that the founding principle of existence is what we call love, which works itself out sometimes not clearly, not cleanly, not immediately, nonetheless ineluctably."
(80)

04 November 2009

"After the fire,

"After the fire, the earth is replenished; after the storm the air is clear. Try to watch the destruction with detachment, almost as if it were happening to somebody else. Say yes to the process by meeting it halfway."

"The world will end but the mirror will remain, mirroring nothing."

These are good current mantras pour moi...

01 November 2009

photoconductor

Pause the player and allow it to buffer all the way before playing. It will only take a few seconds. If you don't, you'll get some freaky mixed photos.

This kind of thing is what happens when you live in a village, the river is freezing, you have a wig, Photo Booth, and time. It was the day before Halloween and I wore my Vietnamese Aou-ai along with this wig to school. I was enjoying having long hair again. *_* Basically, I went down the line w/ Photo Booth's effects.

video

Random captions:
* Unite!
* Prom queen series...
* Funky Punk wants You!
* fish eye lens
* If only my waistline were truly this. It's the "squeeze."
* Really, I'm not having knee surgery. I need a bust reduction. ...back problems.
* Now you all know I have a sister. But, did you know she's visiting me... and we're twins? (I'm the oldest.)
* "What tha?!"
* This is meant to bounce back & forth with the next one. ... "Oom-pa... oom-pa!" at the disco.
* This photo makes me think of myself as a ghost viewing our world. (Yes! The imagination is active.)
* Weeeeeee!
* Just... 30... more... seconds!
* Get ready for this set! It's going to be a pseudo Kung Fu reel! I'm a little fascinated. Step back, lest you might get smack...ed! AI-ack! sha-BLACK!


If only I could snap my fingers and have long hair again and not have to go through the awkward years to get there! This was fun anyway.

P.S. }{appy birthday, Laurel... Cuz, you're super!!!
P.P.S. All music credits go to Gogol Bordello - "Illumination"... I wish it would play the whole song.
P.P.P.S. This was my first iMovie. Yay!

09 September 2009

09-09-09

How could I resist posting on a numerically special day like today?

Incontrovertibly, a lot has happened since the last time I posted with the end of the summer and beginning of the school year.

*Carey will fill-in-the-blank later.* (cue telephone hold music)

Right now, there is a beautiful sunset outside that I must watch dwindle. There are blue-gray clouds covering the top half of the sky I can see. It's hot pink on the lower half with sherbet orange underneath and on the horizon. The colors look like a Hibiscus flower. The lighting is enough to make the green look vibrant and the yellow grass in the river stand out. The water is calm and the boats are concealed. Only a couple people are riding their bikes on the boardwalk. The West window in "my" new house is wonderful!

06 August 2009

CHINPERSON THEATRE 2

CHINPERSON THEATRE

The underlying theme for this teacher centered arts institute I've been attending is story telling. One of the attendants' husband has embodied this as quite a "Chingenius" (Chingenius Productions.)

... Pop some popcorn, pull up a chair, and prepare to fall out of it. Make sure you don't miss the outtake. All credit goes to Matt Overmyer.

09 July 2009

Beijing to Ulaanbataar

Sainw!


It's always weird to follow a post like my last one. Though, this is where I am in my life right now.

To backtrack, most of you know I spent a little over three weeks in Alaska, post school releasing. The first two I was in Bethel for reading training and Curriculum Committee meetings. I spent a little over a week back in Nunapitchuk after that painting (with help) and doing a marginal bit of organizing in the classroom... and tinkering with the new boat. Then, Tesia and I took a spontaneous trip to Gasquet, California (far NW, just East of Cresent City) for a wedding. The following three weeks I stayed in NC visiting family and friends.

I arrived in Beijing on the evening of 4th. In Chicago, I had a 5-1/2 hour layover. Though, when I went to get my seat, and I was the last person to be issued a ticket, I had a surprise. It wasn't until I was boarding the plane that I found out I was bumped to business class, free of charge. This meant no plastic dishes, free booze, a c-u-s-h chair that included loads of leg room and reclining, and a bubble at the low back that pressed in and out, giving me a massage the whole time. It was worth the wait!

During one of the three days in Beijing we visited The Forbidden City (massive, impressive, and repeatitive). Another day we hiked the Great Wall, away from the usual tourist trap at Badaling, on the 10 km trail to Simitai, a largely unmaintained, delapidating portion of the wall. It was quite beautiful, and a good work out! We took 3 hours to hike that distance on the constantly rolling waves of the dragon's spine. We were all sweating buckets & lucky that it was overcast. There is a highway to Mongolia being built now that will pass under the wall in two places. I don't know when it will be finished. That's a long way from the original plan of the wall, eh?


Another day we bartered for souveiners (and spent a couple hours in the bookstore). Our last night we went to the City Market. There was a strip about a block long with all kinds of foods to buy and try. Some of the more exotic ones included (most all fried in a huge wok): scorpian, crickets, water beetle, silk worm, centapeid, sheep penis, snake skin, eel, cow stomach, organs, fried banana, fried ice cream, pumpkin cakes, candied fruit, bubble tea, cold noodle soup... and the regular chicken, lamb, beef wraps, etc.

Two words I used a lot in Beijing were (she' - shae') meaning "thank you" and (bouy yeow) meaning "no," " I don't want it" or something similar to detour the never ending hagglers. Vicki was pushed a few times, a couple times she pushed back. Her Chinese skills also came back nicely, I must say. It was fun listening to her carry on conversations with people, and she was complemented several times on her inflections being good.

Another enjoyable aspect about Beijing was the parks in the evenings and early morning, when things weren't so hot. We saw a massive (17 x 23 rows of people) practicing Tai Chi, or two in another park, "bomb" card games, eryu music along with fertive singing, some style of birdy hacky, Kung Fu warm ups including cracking chains in the air (this by a 70 something year-old man). I could people watch for months.

I'm in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia as of 2:00 this afternoon. We're meeting our director in the morning (Sat.); then we'll be heading out for the Volunteers For Peace workcamp. Vicki and I were able to take the train from Beijing after all. The Needam (men's games) festival begins tomorrow and there are trains running up here four days a week, as opposed to two. All & all the 33 hour ride went smooth. Our roomates were cool & the beds were comfortable (4 inside each "soft sleeper" room, which is about 6' wide at best). They would randomly locked the bathrooms though, like at the Mongolia border and always at stops. Also, at the border we had a scheduled delay because the gauges on the tracks differ from China in Mongolia, and again in Russia. So they took the train down, changed all the wheels and brought the train back. It took about two hours.

Going through the Gobi Desert was quite dusty. The countryside just outside of Ulaanbataar is gorgeous! There are prominent tall hills just outside of the city even. I love seeing the gers (yurts) among the rolling green hills and livestock scattered about. There really are a lot out there. The gers are even mingled among buildings outside of Ulaanbataar here. A fence runs alongside the railroad from as far as I can remember, maybe the Gobi Desert. It's quite unobtrusive though, a meek bobbed wire fence with posts. Closer to Ulaanbataar they were repairing it. Aside from the cattle herders I saw a woman seated in the grass cutting the square around her. For some reason, I am reminded of the Navajo Rez. Maybe it's the sheep and the desert. I'm excited to get to spend some time with people on a low key level, unlike the rushed bustling city life. It will be nice to interact on a more intimate level with people... and pull weeds (exercise). I've seen enough buildings and cars to last for a while. I'm ready to get out of the city and to the work camp.

I memorized and practiced two words this evening: "sainw" (san oo) meaning "hello" & "bayarlaa" (buy iRtlh laah) meaning "thank you." Many of the sounds we've heard so far seem related to the way Yup'ik sounds are.

A'ite I need to split to shower and sleep, neither of which have been abundant, but that's ok.

I'm wishing productive, happy summer time to all of you out there!

30 June 2009

Israeli Occupation Forces attack Free Gaza Movement boat again

Is this the third time in the last six months? They abducted 21 human rights workers including Mairead Maguire and Cynthia McKinney. These are people working towards change.
Al Jazerra - Israel Stops Aid Ship to Gaza
BBC - Israelis Intercept Gaza Aid Ship


It's the same old story, nothing new... Israelis deserve to have a state to call their own so let's displace a million Palestinians to create one for them; Israelis build settlements despite borders; Israelis enforce embargos on food, water, and fuel; Israelis create blockades; Israelis restrict Palestinian employment; Israelis arrest people for trivial things like breaking the 8:00pm curfew; Israelis rip acres of olive trees out of the ground to make the "green line" for protection - nevermind the destruction to Palestinian economics and heritage; Israelis pound Palestinians in self defense of mortars that have killed 9 people in 5 years; Israelis stop humanitarian aid; Israelis need the outdated U.S. military weapons and ever flowing U.S. financial aid and U.S. international support for genocide labeled "self-defense"... Enough about the Israelis! What about the Palestinians who are trying to live?

Simply, I have mixed feelings about the results of acting out from where I stand, safely in the United States. I refuse to become inured to the violence. Denying people their rights to basic needs of safety, food, and shelter is violence. I hate this feeling of wanting to stop people from treating others like they are nothing, unworthy of being dignified as human beings. I feel my body pulsate with rage and I just want to lash out. I don't know how. It seems nothing I say or do will change anything; I'm acting on such a small scale talking to people I know about this or wearing a stupid sticker for 5 months. And I don't even know half of the b.s. that's gone down over there to be able to communicate with you more.
Is 60 years not enough time to sit on our hands and wait?

This is the trying to find a "solution" mentality. I know one person can make a change; that's been proven. Those e-mail petitions to beg for humanitarian aid or for the U.S. to cut off funding, marches and protests, calling Congress... Does any of that do anything? Can it really be so futile? Sometimes I wonder if I even know what justice is. I'm a safe distance away. I'm living off the grid with my consumerist lifestyle, sleeping in a comfortable bed, eating too much food, exercising my right to free speech. I'm able to laugh with my friends without looking over my shoulder for guards or dodging bullets. Part of me feels guilty for living a full life and silly for feeling the way I do sometimes; I really have no idea what emotional strife is compared to what people wake up to every day elsewhere. Or I feel like a coward for not buying a plane ticket to Gaza and risking my life to make some sort of stand. Aren't I being compliant by not moving towards some sort of serious fight against this?
Am I contributing in all the ways that I'm able?

I don't even know why the Palestinians have become so dear to me, besides the exposure I've had. There are thousands of other instances of this kind of plight, hundreds of other countries with people in need... I seriously think I can understand why people want to martyr for the sake of some form of justice or recognition or vengeance.

I have to believe that however minuscule I feel the things I'm doing are, some sort of pro-activity is better then only raging within myself. Talk to your children or a neighbor if you want to make them aware. Call or write your Congress person if you're feeling the urge.
Call Secretary of State Clinton; The main switchboard for the State Department is 202-647-4000. Sign petitions if you agree with them. Blog to get the word out. Volunteer for the Red Cross or UNRWA or Amnesty International. Make human rights a priority in your mind and in your life. At least the sound will be louder with more voices.

27 June 2009

Bang, Bang... Shoot 'em Up

Pops showed me how to shoot a couple of hand guns Thursday. The black one is a .38, and the smaller silver one is a .45. Both of them have a lot of kick for little things. I only hit the 25' target once for each out of maybe 10 tries; though it was on the first try for the .45. Those aren't such good odds, at any rate. A Load of practice is to be had. :-p

Side note: I'm usually so excited to jump into the cute summer clothes I have. Then, I end up wearing the same 1-3 outfits all flipping summer. This is the outfit of choice #1 this summer. I swear I've worn it at least 8/10 days.


}{appy Birthday Mom & Pops!

Today is my parents' birthday. They're six years apart, plus some minutes, I'm sure. Pops was born in 1950 and Mom in 1956.

This morning Pops and I took the RV-8 to a "Fly-in," hosted at a Wilksboro municipal airport. Folks fly their planes there for others to look at. Some of the planes on display were training planes from WWII; there were also others on display that were towed in (one was segmented). Additionally, there was a little antique car show with about a dozen cars, a live folk/bluegrass cover band, kids' games, fund raising food booths, and a couple craft tables.



It was about 12:30 when we returned home from the Fly-in. Then, I went to a neighborhood pool to chill for a bit. A friend of ours, Robin, and her two teenagers were there. Mom & Tess were supposed to meet us but were waylaid. Mom, Tess & I went out for dinner and then back to their house.

P.S. It was still 93 degrees F at 5:30, when I drove by the bank thermometer. Southern sun.... ssssss!
P.P.S. I forgot to take a girls' photo and now my mum is asleep. I'll update that later.



15 June 2009

Tarheel State

















Well, I don't have tar on my heels, but I am in North Carolina.  I started yesterday at 12:30 pm, really 10:30 if you count the boat ride.  Then, the wheels skidded on the runway at about 10:00 am today.  Pops and Tesia were right there when I turned the corner at the baggage claim.
  
Tess took this photo of herself once back at Pops' house.  This is me, after maybe 1.5 hours of sleep and the traveling.  (Look, brother K, I'm wearing a seat belt in the back seat!) 

Painting Projects galore #2-3, partially #4

I went back to Nunap. after the two weeks in Bethel for the reading class and committee meetings.  During that time, a lot of painting happened.  Here's the before and after photos.  I didn't work alone (except for most of the kitchen).  Thanks for the help, guys! (Only one will probably read this.)  Somewhere around 40 hours was spent on these walls.  

Living Room
(One window frame needs to be stripped and both of them stained like the bedroom.  Other than that, the living room is done.)



Kitchen





My Bedroom
(The other three walls are going to be a light sage color.  That's a fall project.)

13 June 2009

Keep Off Grass

No, this is not a drug awareness advertisement.  In retrospect, I wish it was.  

Yesterday, I left around 8:30pm to go over to Akula (3 miles away) for another jog around Fox Lake and some reading on the tundra.  Remember, I was driving a boat because we don't have a road or a bridge between here and there.  (Never mind, neither of those between here and Anchorage 400 miles away.)  

I did not bring the ore 
because I had a box
 of painting supplies to bring to a friend and a bag with boating stuff.  Plus, I had a bag for myself with my book and coat. Ores have a tendency to "grow legs," as the guy who sold it to me said.  So, I didn't want to have to carry all of it.  I suppose I could have just risked it and left it in the boat.  I looked at that ore and justified not bringing it because of all the other junk.  It won't happen again.

The sun was shining in my eyes and I got into a little bit of grass.   Yes, I was probably daydreaming too.  It seemed like a little bit of grass until I realized it was flanking me.  The grass was 6-8 inches below the surface of the water and it's a continuous circuit of roots and mud for who knows how far.  It was too close to the propeller to start the engine, even with it pulled up.  Those of you not familiar with boats, the engine's angle in the water can be adjusted.  My Yamaha 20 HP weighs about 100 lbs., so to adjust mine upward requires me pulling up while pressing my knees against the transom, the back part of the boat supporting the engine. As I was figuring this out, the wind pushed me into even higher, aka more dense, grass.  I used a 3 foot, ~10 lb. (heavy) steal bar to push out of that grass some.  Luckily, That was in there for weight in the bow (thanks Pete).

Once out of that muck, then, I got turned around again.  This time the grass was ten-fold, taller, and adjacent to some bushes.  I was thinkng there was an opening, a path between the grass.  Obviously not.  The wind kept pushing me further into the thicker grass.  I stood on top of the seat for a few minutes contemplating my next move, kind of hoping someone in the nearby houses would see me.  They couldn't have done anything differently then what I did next, lest their boat be in a jam too.  
In that bag of boating supplies there was a rope, in case a tow be needed.  I tied myself to the boat so the wind didn't pull it away from me.  Then, what would I do?  It was Southern wind, so at least it was warm, but it still didn't favor me at the time.  Rather, I didn't favor it!  Remember the sun was out too.  The water might have been 50 degrees.  

Anyway, I tried to go one way, but I couldn't pull the boat over the grass.  I trudged back the other way about 200 yds.  I was in the water up to the top of my thighs most of the time, sometimes my waist.  As I walked along the top of the grass it would give way; it is floating after all.  I could feel the roots pressing in the bottom of my tennis shoes.  It felt strong, but I had to be aware that I might punch through at any given point or I could walk off the edge of one of the plots.  I've never walked on it before and it is in the middle of a river.  Maybe I was in a lake at that point.  The wind steadily blew at my side.
When I tried to get back into the boat the first time I fell in, not all the way, but up to my waist, getting my cotton sweatshirt wet.  It was kind of a high climb for me to swing my leg and as I did the wind pushed the boat back about 5 feet.  Finally, I pushed it out further, to what I thought might be the edge of the grass, and I made it in (aka rolled over the side hoping not to bust a knee cap).  I had to quickly start the engine, which meant pushing in this key clip, putting the engine in the water (not all the way, another adjustment), and pulling the rope.  I meandered my way out of there.

I made it to Akula just before 10:00pm.  At my granny pace it has been taking me just under 30 minutes to get over there.  I must have been in the water close to an hour pulling that boat, maybe 40 minutes.

I didn't jog around Fox Lake.  I was wet and uncertain of how my return would be.  I also didn't see my friend to deliver the box.  It's a good thing that there are construction guys staying in the school, so I just left it in their room.  I wrung out my shirt and headed back for the boat.

I ended up almost going right back into the same trap.  The water has gone down slightly, but I'm still a little perplexed about how I got so disoriented, twice, no thrice.  Usually, I'm Miss Magellan.  

So, I turned around and went the long way home, which I knew would be deep water.  It's twice as long though; that is another hour in the boat.  I was shivering and my finger dexterity wasn't top-notch by the time I made it inside.  It probably took me an hour to warm up, which included doing jumping jacks, jogging in place, and drinking hot tea.  ^_^

It was a good experience, but I don't want to have another one like it.  Once is enough.  

Maybe we need a few of these signs out here on buoys, "Keep Off Grass." 

09 June 2009

Ahoy Matey

I bought a boat!  I had been thinking about it for a couple months.  When the opportunity came up to purchase a perfectly used one, in the end I had to invest.  

Some might say, "You'll only be able to use it 2-3 months, and you're not staying in Nunap. this summer."  To me, that 2-3 months of being able to go where I want, when I want to makes it absolutely worth it.

{{Isn't the paint job... special?}}

05 June 2009

Feline Commemoration


















Last November you did appear
Prior owner sneezed and coughed here

You did run as I chased behind
Nestle in the evening with me
Flipped on your back, you did not move
White and black, your coat was so smooth

Sister Jade came, causing mischief
Frisky, frolic, wrestle, cuddle
Whence Jade did clean your cheeks freely
You'd be calm and lie there meekly

When I did leave you two to fend
Though under care of my young friend
As I returned, so I did hear
One laid stiff, upon her great fear

Zane doth not meow, confirming
Here this day, only Jade can play

19 May 2009

Whoooahh, yaaaaaaaiii, hhhheeeeeaaaaa....

{{{Those are supposed to be Kung Fu chopping noises, as I have to be a warrior these days. See photo and imagine me standing atop a drumlin contemplating my next attack, spear in hand readied to scythe my enemy, secretly hoping the action is superfluous.}}}

You all have no idea how many times this year I have thought about posting a blog entry and then gotten waylaid. As another year rolls off the calendar, I begin to feel the shift. Most of the time I think that my life would seem mundane to many. Nothing really extravagant has happened. Though some of you may have been wondering how I bide my time (mostly those not in the pseudo-commune I like to call the “Tundra Triangle.”). At any rate, here are tidbits, in my usual winded diction.

Weather: It’s 9:27pm and I’m finally feeling sun on my face for the first time today. I awoke to wet snow falling fervently and sticking to boot. Who-WHAAA!? It’s melted off the boardwalks now, but it snowed most of the day and momentarily seemed like the beginning of winter again. Then, I remembered it’s May. Yesterday, it was rather gale along with cold rain. Some friends attempted to paddle over here on kayaks from neighboring villages. They tried, but turned around in vain. As Sara said, it was “several degrees of nasty” out there. CHA-dang! Saturday was quintessential: sunny, 54 degrees, a faint cool wind, birds fluttering about, kids playing... That’s how Alaska likes to share the elements… (I’m an ellipsis floozy. Can you tell? It’s all about the implication assuming what you know already or how lofty your imagination is to fill in the blank and, lets be honest, my laziness to wrap up a sentence.)

As the daylight hours wax the sun doesn’t rise and fall insomuch as roll around in the sky.
When it’s not rolling around, there’s still twilight. Extra sunlight also fosters this innate energy, where I constantly think, “Sleep… sleep is for the weak. I can keep going.” I guess the sun looking like it's rolling around the horizon is indicative of how I feel this time of year. I know I'm not alone on this one. It’s still neat to think about being on top of the world. Each summer’s approach I also recall when I first moved to Alaska, squatting/camping and working in Seward for six weeks with no clue that I would end up being here for six years so far. I wonder if those feelings will ever fade.

The whole school year:
* I’ve been blessed with an abundance of wonderful folks in the “Tundra Triangle” this year (Joolee & Bill, Kyle, Jim, Deanna, Sonya, Vicki, Pete & Tammy, Shaun & Sara, Maria, Shannon, Garry, b-ball ladies…). Our Thursday dinners, Sunday basketball, sporadic poker and game nights, sports traveling, and Bethel encounters have all kept me entertained and sane this year. A couple of times I’ve been able to see old cronies who now live in Napaskiak and Oscarville (Sara, Christina, Erin...), outlying Bethel. I love you all… thanks.
* The class that has finally congealed this year has been interesting. That’s all I have to say on that right now. I’ve been exceeding my capacity with schoolwork with end of the year testing, grading, and finalizing things. In other words, I’m inundated with school tasks throughout the day, so talking about it afterward can be a bit draining at times. I have to say in short though that I love my little friends at school and what we experience together drives me and makes up part of who I am.


January-February: No recollection refreshed. Coincidence? Blah-PLOW!

March: * Mt. Redoubt erupted and it looks like there is some activity going on now to. Foom-PASH!
* I served on a jury for the first time. It was a sexual offence trial that lasted a week, plus another half of a week it took to choose the jury. I could tell that the defense, state prosecutor, and judge were ascertaining whether or not to pick me. I had the premise that I would be selected and I was actually wishing for it. I chronicled the first three days and I never did finish the last two! It had gotten really intense and there was a lot to weigh to measure evidence, by those last days I needed to let things settle rather than rehash, enough of that was done in deliberation. We ended up deliberating for six and a half hours coming to the verdict of guilty. I do feel like we had a fair and impartial jury panel. I now know why people debate; it’s exhilarating.
* I’m participating on the Reading Curriculum Review Committee and our first meeting was in March.
* Camai-i: This weekend is beginning to make its mark as executing the monotony that begins to seep in that time of year. This year some of us stayed at Maria’s Pops’ vacant apartment and practiced what is prohibited in the village: drinking. This was also my first introduction to Apples to Apples, taking one win with “messy” for providing the card the “U.S. Constitution.” It’s trifle, but nice to win a game every now and then. Kee-YOW! I was
unimpressed with and somewhat frustrated by the actual dance festival that was taking place and so I won’t elaborate on my experiences with that.

April:
* Akula hosted a Yurraq dance festival, which was much better than Camai-i. It was more intimate, the people dancing seemed genuine and the crowd was definitely there because they liked the dancing. The same week they hosted the district NYO meet, which meant 21 schools, 172 athletes, as well as coaches and chaperones came together to facilitate the 10 events over a two-day period. We made record time for a record high # of athletes. Erin wrote a nice entry on this.
* I remember that on the 11th it was -8 F. That following week was the most extraordinary out of the whole year in weather terms as far as I’m concerned. I took full advantage of skiing
opportunities on the sunny cool days, average temp. just at freezing. I went to Akula (3 miles one way) a couple times in addition to trying different trails on other days.
* Alisha wrote up a lovely retelling of a HS play that I too went to see,
Pippin. I went in for another Reading Committee meeting, driving my snow-go down for the last time. I planned on driving back too, but it became increasingly slushy outside and there was a couple missing from Kwig (safe now), so I was talked into leaving it there for the summer in a friend’s garage. It was a happy happenstance really, because that meant I could enjoy another night in Bethel with friends.

May: * This has been a hard month because most of it has been the process of the river breaking up. That means that my freedom is infringed. I have to say that the introspective side of me takes over at this time and it seems like the river impeding my travel for so long was a good thing. Sometimes forced reflection is good for perspective. Krow-KRAK!
* I’m moving to a different house next year, about 50’ away, as you were privy to b/c of the bathroom painting photos. I’ve been packing, giving things away, purging, and cleaning. It’s tiring, especially with end of the year madness at school. But it’s also renewing and I’m glad to lift the feeling of stagnation because of it.
* We had two graduates. The school year with students ends on Thursday. Ja-BLACKK!

It feels good to write... Here’s a photo I took when I started this. The sun is down now, but there’s still a blue-gray glow in the sky. I've taken to leaving my bedroom window open at night. There is a symphony of bird calls outside: duck, swallow, geese, seagull, crane, swan, sandpiper, raven. If my body didn't need sleep I'd be content to stay awake and listen to them all night.

Daily practice: Enjoy the rapture of the ordinary.


{{{No one was harmed during the making of this post. The attack noises are strictly for my entertainment, and yours if you so choose. Shh-PING!}}}




These are some photos from April.

Those girls are standing in a hole they made to collect ice, which is melted to use for water in their houses. They made it into the shape of a skull with a bone on one side. The teeth were a step down so that they could chip more ice.


That's Jim, my nomadic roomy of 3 months.

It's also him to the right of the mostly snow picture. The tiny black dot on the horizon to the left is those girls collecting ice.

07 May 2009

}{appy Birthday, Sister!

Tesia, I can't believe you're 14 already! I'm envisioning when mom was pregnant with you. ^_^ ...I love you...




{P.S. If you want me to put different photos on here, you have to Send me a new one. I'm sure you look so much more mature now.}

Painting Project #1








Last night I painted the bathroom in the house I'm moving into next year. I left a majority of it white, because it is those industrial plastic panels. I have no idea how they would take paint. The sink is an experiment (*fingers crossed for it not peeling!*) The green tape is still up but you get the idea. Isn't it beautiful?!

15 April 2009

Civil Rights unit success

The are some random photos from our 8-week long Civil Rights unit. Really, it was 10-1/2-weeks including making the books and the presentation for the parents. The unit began on Dr. King's birthday (15 Jan.), but we started learning about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Thereafter, we continued learning about some of the significant people and events of the US Civil Rights Movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., sit-ins, Elizabeth Peratrovich, Ruby Bridges, and Freedom Riders. My hope for next year is to include more of the courageous and significant movements within (concerning Alaska Natives, from Birmingham to Selma, March on Washington, the summer of 1964, civil rights today). I need to learn more myself. I didn't want to stop, but we have to cover other things before the end of the year. Next year, hopefully things will go smoother & we can fit more in. We covered a lot of ground, given that I had 30 minutes a day, four days a week with them.

This is 1st and 2nd grade, kids ages 7-9, so we didn't get into great detail. The things they've remembered, the shock at some of the filmage and photos they saw, how they act towards each other, and the pictures they drew all tell me that they recognize racism and discrimination as wrong. I didn't spare them from seeing the horrid footage of children being sprayed with water hoses, people being beaten, racist police officers, or Dr. King's assassination (I actually cried when I saw that part again). I showed photos & told stories about bus bombings and sit-in humiliation. I'm not in favor of desensitizing kids with things like horror flicks, but I felt it was important to expose them to what can come of true hatred so that they can make the conscious choice to stop it and learn that tolerance is the way to go. That's my hope anyway. As we progressed, I realized that this unit fit perfectly with behavior management, with emphasis on equality, fairness, and non-violence. All the more reason to extend it next year. ^_^

One more thing, I realize I'm getting a little windy here.

Bookmaking: Throughout the unit they drew pictures to help them remember what they learned. I tried to expose them to different art media for this as well. As a final project they combined these and made a book from scratch. This consisted of making the covers with cardboard & gluing tissue paper down, then duct taping the spines. They hammered holes into the paper & sewed the pages with embroidery thread, and glued those pages into the book. In addition to their pictures, I typed summaries about the people or event we studied for their families to read & they glued them on the back of the corresponding pictures. (Next year, this will most likely be personal reflections.) They also drew pictures we used to help them remember their vocabulary: non-violence, boycott, protest, courage, racism, segregation, integration, assassination, sit-ins, etc. Slap on a title page & vuyalla. The finally consisted of making cookies and assigning lines that the students would say during our "Freedom Tea." 15 parents and our principal came to hear some information about the Civil Rights Movement, drink coffee and tea, and look at the students books. All but one student, out of 30, did their part and contributed to the "Freedom Tea." It was a great success!

...... "That's all folks!"

(Also, the girl in the pink shirt did the Freedom Riders, Martin, Ruby, and sit-ins drawings. I don't think I can write her name here, but I want her to have some sort of credit. The other artists aren't pictured.)