23 July 2010

Baker visits Washington, D.C.

It was 103 degrees F that day! Even after being in the car air conditioning for 15 minutes I was still dripping sweat.

15 May 2010

No Photos During Naps!

Perhaps this is what the thought bubble would say for Baker. Last night, I tried to take our picture while he was so cuddly on my lap. All the while, notice he's falling more & more asleep. I woke him up by laughing as I watched this transpire on the screen though.

08 May 2010

"Breaking Up is Hard To Do"

Updated map... Notice all of the openings.:

NOAA website
I love maps!

The Kuskokwim is the long river you see running in the middle the SW. It's the second largest river in the state, next to the Yukon (the enormous river running in the middle of Alaska. Bethel, LKSD's hub, is the second-ish dot up the river from the coast. You can hover the arrow over dots to see the place names and average break-up dates. Bethel's average date since 1970 is May 12th. Nunap. is NW of Bethel by 26 miles.

Ice in the Johnson River can't move out until the Kuskokwim breaks. Right now, some areas on the Johnson within Nunap. are sketchy. But, mostly it's solid ice in the center. There are very few spots with "needle ice," a sure sign of a weak spot.

It's exciting to see that there are some parts of the Kuskokwim River that are open in the east. We have not had a lot of precipitation this year and it makes me wonder if this is contributing to a semi-late break-up. My fingers are crossed for break-up by May 15th, May 20th at the latest, with no interruptions to our school days of course.

{I'm moving to Bethel by boat on the 23rd. I want plenty of water for that trek. ^_^}

22 April 2010


If you are familiar with the Southern U.S., then this expression may be familiar to you. It is not a happy expression. It's a replacement for cussing kind of expression. Let me express this. It's not water proof anymore.

The day after my return from Anchorage, Monday, I left Baker out and the phone on the desk. Perhaps he was attracted to the shiny red. I do realize he sneaks a peek at the desk from the couch when I am gone. From time to time he likes to help himself to various receipts, spark plug boxes, and my desk calendar. This is the way he shows his detestation b/c I leave him alone. All I know now is that 1) I am glad it still works, aside from the de-waterproofing and the flashlight has ceased to function and 2) now he's on lock down when I go to work (in his kennel).

I guess this is the true "Rugged" version. ^_^

15 April 2010

Bio for tha' New Gig

"Everything you touch has a story." {unknown}

As I walked along the sidewalk in Sydney, Australia I noticed a small sign with this written on it. Every now and then a phrase grabs my attention and this one most certainly did too. It so simply states the significance of everything; no matter its size or status, whether we realize it or not, all of what we encounter is valuable and inevitably adds to our own “story.”

I was born in North Carolina and moved to Indiana after graduating high school in 1995. After living, working, and learning in Indianapolis and Bloomington I received my B.A. degree in Early Childhood Education (pre-K-3) from Indiana University in 2003. I student taught pre-school in Bloomington, primarily for university professors’ children. I also chose the optional route of student teaching through the fantastic Cultural Immersion program at IU. After a year of preparatory work I did my student teaching and additional fieldwork in Kayenta, AZ on the Navajo Rez. Besides student teaching, my entire teaching experience has been with LKSD. In 2003, my teaching career commenced in Quinhagak with a K-3 classroom comprised of 19 students ages 5-12. I transferred to Nunapitchuk in 2005 and remained there until 2010, teaching primarily first and second grade. In Nunapitchuk, I also dabbled with upper elementary and junior high tutoring.

That grand E.L.A.S. title above is a fancy way of saying I am the K-5 reading and writing contact person at the District Office. The title is still very new and grand to me because 2010-2011 will be the first school year that I venture into this position and away from classroom teaching. While I have had many wonderful experiences in the classroom, I do look forward to earning the E.L.A.S. title as I embark on this challenge, learning more about teaching Language Arts, working with teachers, visiting schools, and being a new member of the DAPS team. The upcoming experiences should add a lot to my story.

14 April 2010


You are looking at the new "Elementary Language Arts Specialist" for LKSD. {Insert mental photo image.}

After much trepidation and persuasion from others I decided to apply for this position in the district office. So, next year I won't be teaching children directly, which is going to take some getting used to. I'll be the "go to gal" for K-5 Reading and Writing for all of the schools in the district. There are a lot of responsibilities, including teacher in-services and training, implementing a new testing system that might replace our current one, introducing & coordinating training with our new curriculum, data entry onto Rubicon, random tasks... I'm going to have to be a humble bee and soak up the wealth of talent that is the coherent DAPs curriculum department, while keeping my own "stinger" sharp.

The job offer came less than 24 hours after my interview. I literally jumped in the air like you see in the movies after accepting it, and hanging up the phone, at the prospect of the shift in my life. I'm nervous, but very excited too.

12 April 2010

Tundra Turbulence

You can see my stairs, a storage shed, the steam house & the trash house. I can't see past the pole from the school dock less than 200' away, just past the trash house.

This is the same view as that photo taken yesterday. Basically, it's useless but kind of fun to see the snow so stuck on there.

Our forecast?
The wind is coming from the SSE, which means that it's wet.

For now, we have a delayed start at school. I really think the last time I saw a storm like this John W. was our principal, which means it's been five years.

[P.S. That photo taken of me yesterday is a typical posture when I'm looking at the computer. I realized it when I was looking through photos on Photo Booth and the camera was still on. In fact, I'm sitting like that now. ^_^]

11 April 2010

"Food, Glorious Food..."

Today I woke up with the ambition to cook. Sunday seems to be the day when this most often happens to me. I just wanted to make the mac & cheese from scratch & zucchini bread b/c I needed to use the cheese & zucchinis. I ended up making those & I pickled some cucumbers & carrots; fried a couple of zucchini w/ butter, salt, & pepper; broiled BBQ chicken; made 2 salmonberry/raspberry sour cream pies; chopped cabbage for the asian salad & soup to make later ... I also set out some salmon burger to thaw, but I need onion and more eggs before I can make that.

The only explanation is that it's almost mid-April & I have a lot of food in my freezer. I don't want to leave a ton of it over the summer like I have in the past. Besides that, cooking can be fun. The good news is that I'll be sharing & not eating all of it on my own. ^_^

{The recipe links are here, but I always modify w/ my own ingredients. Heed my changes:
* mac & cheese - used multi-shells instead of elbow pasta, powdered milk, asagio cheese, & no eggs w/ flour as a substitute
* zucchini bread - added butterscotch chips, cinnamon, powdered ginger, 1/2 c. more zucchini than called for, & a little wheat germ
* salmonberry/raspberry pies - added lavender flowers, rose hips, lime juice, & mint leaves, plus cinnamon to the topping}

Pie, pre-topping:

Here's the scope of food prepared today.

You can't really see, but it's starting to snow (big wet snowflakes). That's Maria, my dinner guest, going to cover her snow-go.

05 April 2010

}{appy Birthday, Puppy.

Today is Baker's birthday. I just chose it arbitrarily based on the former owner saying that the people he got him from thought Bakes was born in April. I guess it was kind of contrived. I thought if I chose 4/5... 4 + 5 = 9. He was born in 2009... So, this date will be easy for me to remember. Tricks for the memory. Anyway, that's more detail than you need.

I can remember when Baker was meek, timid, and bony. He has since turned into an assertively friendly, snugly, and muscular champ (consistently running 15-20 mph w/ my snow-go). I'm so thankful to have him! Some people (other dog owners) might beg to differ, but I have the best puppy in the world!

{He's munching on his b-day bone in that photo. Isn't he so stately?}

29 March 2010

"Good Day Sunshine"

Does everyone have the aforementioned Beatles song in their head? You should!

We've been fortunate to have lots o' sunny days around here. Coupled with the sun and long walks, I've managed to bring a little color back to my cheeks after a while with little exposure to the sun. Nothing else has been kissed, b/c it's still cold enough to wear a coat and gloves. In fact, it's getting to be a little too cold to take a nice long walk right now. (It was 9 degrees today, without the windchill factor.)

One of the things I really love about living in the Tundra Triangle is the potential trails for a walk/hike/run. While I'm still not running, my knees have been fantastic with all the snow walking I've been doing. Baker gives me more motivation to go out, b/c he's a dog that needs a lot of free play.

There are so many little nooks right outside my door and down the block. The "Tundra Triangle" is the shape that connects Nunap. to Akula to Akiuk and back. Round trip it's about 6.5 miles. Baker & I have walked it a few times recently. Duane went along last Friday. Maybe a couple of weeks ago I took an impromptu hike of about 13 miles. I need to go onto Google Earth to see. I walked to Akula (3 m.) to drop off an NYO roster. Afterwards, I decided to go out to Fox Lake (3.? round trip) b/c I haven't been there for a long time and it's really a wonderful get away. Then, I still had time in the day, my body was urging, my mind was still wound, and the dog was still prancing. So, we took the long route via the river back to Nunap. If I remember correctly from a friend's measurement it's 9 m. (Akula loop past NUP and back). Maybe it was more like 12 m. overall. At any rate it felt good, good, good.

I don't have many photos. Most of them are on my cell. phone and I haven't been patient enough to plod through Bluetooth hoops. But, I'll post a couple once I get them onto the computer.

17 March 2010

Ransom Jameson {03-26-83 to 03-16-10}

I love you.

...Genius, quirky, gentle, silly, kind, creative, true...

Owed to my brother/cousin Ransom.
You will forever be alive in my heart.

07 March 2010

Creativity = Fulfillment

Moderation Is Not A Negation of Intensity, But Helps Avoid Monotony
John Tagliabue

Will you stop for a while, stop trying to pull yourself
for some clear "meaning" - some momentary summary?
no one
can have poetry or dances, prayers or climaxes all day;
the ordinary
blankness of little dramatic consciousness is good for the
health sometimes,
only Dostoevsky can be Dostoevskian at such long
long tumultuous stretches;
look what that intensity did to poor great Van Gogh;
linger, lunge,
scrounge and be stupid, that doesn't take much centering
of one's forces;
as wise Whitman said "lounge and invite the soul." Get
enough sleep;
and now only because (as Cocteau said) "poetry is the
literature of sleep";
be a dumb bell for a few minutes at least; we don't want
Sunday church bells
ringing constantly.

When Deanna read this I was reminded of a quote on a Yogi Tea bag, "A relaxed mind is a creative mind." {That quote is also part of another art project I did on C-mas day using a bunch of Yogi Tea quotes.} Relaxation must be a mindful thing; it seems often neglected in lieu of other tasks.

Friday Deanna & I decided to get together in the evening, eat & be creative. So, I packed my dog on the snow-go & we zipped over to Akiuk, 2.5 m. away. She also has a dog that Baker is friends w/, Lola.

I haven't been keeping my initial "do something artful weekly" promise to myself. This filled the void, for both of us. It was really satisfying to spend hours being creative, listening to music, & in good company. I ended up staying the night b/c I was going to spend some time w/ another person in Akiuk the next day. (Plus, it was -30 w/ the wind chill & I was too lazy to drive home.) She ended up going to Bethel, so Deanna & I spent the better 1/2 of Saturday continuing our creativity, adding in some poetry reading & "The Office" watching. #_#

The products...
The first one here was practice using the "How To Draw Graphic Novels" booklet I have. It was the first time I used Sharpie markers to shade though.

This Korean flutist should be finished now. The inception of it dawned in 2002 & remained a head w/ partial torso & the moon w/ clouds in the background. I completed most of it by Jan. 1st this year. Saturday I went back to touch up some shading, mostly w/ the plants & clouds.

I want the door to look weathered w/ deep cracks in between the planks. It's not working so far. I think I like it better the way it was w/ more red coloring. It was started in 2004, returned to in 2009, and now again. This one is still a work in progress.

Deanna used some photos she'd taken during her AlCan Hwy. trek last summer as models for her watercolor pencil drawings. One was a landscape scene seen through tree branches. The other was the sunset in her side view mirror. They turned out really nice.

What's next?
--- I need to practice proportions of the head more. Then, I'll go back to practicing the expressions. So, I went ahead & set up the book so I can dive right in next time.

To top the great weekend off, Maria hosted a belated Lunar New Year mini-feast Saturday evening. She & Jacquie served maybe 30 people a variety of Asian delectables: wonton soup, egg drop soup, stir fry (a few kinds), salun'aq (raw, salt cured salmon), & salmon dip.

25 February 2010

I love chores!

I'm not kidding. Chores are the fabric of what makes my life meaningful. They remind me that nothing comes to exist w/o at least a little elbow grease.


I can actually remember telling kids in elementary school, "I don't classify my friends." That's kind of funny when I think about it now. While I am not into B.F.F.s (best friends forever), I guess it's okay for dogs.

We have a neighbor dog Cuddles, who is a typical village dog with stubby legs, a long body, and shaggy hair. She and Baker have taken to playing rather frequently and fervently. Baker usually tries to dominate bigger dogs by wrapping his paws around their neck and snapping at the ears and jowls. He also takes advantage of his shorter stance and nips at the fleshy legs and bony ankles. Cuddles shares a house with a pit bull/boxer mix, so she's used to a romp. Her small body and experience make them a good match for rough play. It's quite cute. To boot, I can also see them play outside my window.

However, no B.F.F. can replace the tasty morsel of Pilot Bread.* Baker's former owner used this as an external motive for potty training, etc. I've bribed Baker with bits of it so that every time I say "inside" he'll come. Sometimes he pretends that he can't hear, looks at me, turns around and runs to play some more. Those days have dwindled thanks to Pilot Bread. We've been practicing while he plays. So, tonight when I said "Baker, inside", he dropped jowl and ran full force to the door.

* Pilot Bread (a.k.a. hard tack) is a big unsalted round cracker, commonly eaten in Alaska. I read that Alaska was among the last to add Pilot Bread to a regular diet. It's definitely ubiquitous today. I had never even seen it until I moved here and now I don't see it anywhere outside of AK.

22 February 2010


Our school district is embracing CHAMPS*, based on the book Champs: A Proactive & Positive Approach to Classroom Management by Randall Sprick, et al. (including Keba Baldwin).

*CHAMPS is an acronym for Communication, Help, Activity, Movement, Participation, Success.

Last week, we, along w/ our site administrator (a.k.a. principal), all of our district's social workers, and sparse SAs and teaching staff from other sites attended a two-day training (conducted by Keba and Joel, someone from LKSD).

Our SA bequeathed the title of "CHAMPS Gurus" to a co-worker & myself, giving us the responsibility of learning about the methodology and conducting all of the site in-services this year and next.
I'm feeling like a beached fish 1/2 in and 1/2 out of the water. Lucky for me, my partner did her SpEd masters' work regarding emotionally/behaviorally disturbed.

Saturday, after a 1/2 day of school, we did a couple of exercises. Then, today we were responsible for 2/3 of our site in-service. It is a world of difference between teaching teachers and teaching children. Obviously, some things are the same, like saying "cheap." This we heard on Sat., understandably b/c it was the 6th day in a work week. But we literally had two practical exercises, and it was our third week requiring 6 working days each. Boo hoo. ^_^

We spent 12 hours planning for the six-hour in-service today. We had to make sure the info. and exercises were relevant and effective. It's quite challenging knowing that many of the people in the room will be resistant to taking an objective look at themselves, let alone the idea of change. We also know that our school is in dire need of school-wide consistency and behavior management, beginning with the adults, or the school just might spontaneously combust.

Anyway, today's in-service "went off without a hitch," to abuse another cliche'. People were engaged, w/o grumbling, there were some honest discussions, and time went quickly (always a good sign). Wish us luck for the continuation of this and that we, as a staff, will continue to evolve into being more consistent, managers of behavior through positive communication, structure, observation, and evaluation of our practices.

17 February 2010

Erudite Squadron of the Tundra Triangle - exploring "The Road"

I think I have failed to mention that our super cool local book club now has a fancy blog. I offhandedly called our club "Erudite Squadron of the Tundra Triangle" (<-- click me) in an entry on here about doublethink in 1984. Vicki thought to create a blog and Deanna, who set-up the collaborative blog, liked the name. Here we are. Up to this point there hasn't been too much activity.

Our current book is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I know there are folks out there that aren't in our neighborhood (Shaun, Sara, Erin, Jenny, people we don't know...) who have read the book. We don't discriminate. If you'd like to leave some comments, click this link --> The Road. Three, meself included, have left comments hitherto. If you'd like to join us and you know where Deanna lives, the meeting is there today at 6:30 p.m.

Sidenote: I may have coined the term "Tundra Triangle" too. I remember calling it that when I first moved to Nunap. and discovered that this area likened to the Bermuda Triangle. Storms would frequently be a locked in vortex here and surrounding areas were flyable, even Bethel. You could even see blue skies above, the ultimate hint that you are locked in a ground flurry. Now, we're all wishing for snow around here!

12 February 2010

My Little Nimrod

I'm temporarily staying in Bethel, "the big city," with a couple of friends, their 21-mon.-old son, and chocolate lab. Because I'm here so long, I brought my dog, Baker, too. Yesterday we all had to leave at the same time, which meant leaving the pups to their own motives. Upon returning at lunch, Shaun discovered that Baker had locked himself in the bathroom, the above crime scene. Evidently, undetected, a bird got into the house and managed to make it's way into the bathroom with my dog in it's wake. There were no meat, bones, or blood to be seen. Just cleanly licked feathers, everywhere, and toilet paper shreds. I'm kind of proud of my little nimrod.

Below are some random recent pictures...

I bet you can't guess who that president is. You may not be able to see he's holding some books in hand: Superhero Comics and Easy Guide to Being President. On the front there are "bad Guy Cards" in the lapel pocket. The sign on the back says, "If found return to the White House."

Isaac and Baker

Loki and Baker

09 February 2010

Night Fright

It's still unsettling when I see that I am the only one logged onto the FirstClass network. Freaky!

07 February 2010

Full February

It just happened. Things keep coming up and I keep scratching the pencil across my calendar. Here's what's gone down and what I'm in for, at this point, for the month of February.

Week 1:
--- 1-4, M-TR --- Taught. You read about the smothered larynx. ^_^ The whisper continued another day. I went to the clinic to discover that I was in the early stages of Strep. Good thing I was already taking the next day off! I had a Thursday evening flight to Bethel w/ dog (1st flight). Baker enjoyed trying insatiably to sew his wild oats w/ my friends' dog Loki. I let him get it out considering ...
--- 5, Fri. --- Baker's ball lopping (aka neutering) and regular vet. tormenting ensued. All went well really. He was quite doped up on Morphine and ACE (sedative). I also did errands around Bethel and visited w/ some friends that night.
--- 6, Sat. --- Reading Committee impromptu meeting to review textbooks (2 more down).
-----I tried to go out on the evening flight, but it was canceled due to weather. My principal and I called our local river taxi person, Steven, to come get us. It took him two hours to get there, so we ended up leaving at about 7:00 and getting home at 9:00. Besides slipping often, it was a good ride. He's a good driver. If we stayed in Bethel, we wouldn't have been able to leave until 12:30 today.
--- 7, Sun. --- One of the artists contracted w/ our district for workshops is going to stay the night w/ me. Today, I'll be making regular teaching plans, sub plans for a week, and doing domestic things before packing for the sabbatical.

{Side note: I caught Baker napping in his "house" (kennel) today. Only yesterday, he had outstretched paws at my insistence that he go into his house at Yute Air, after pissing on a trash can. Once his head and front legs are in he complies, but this napping sign is encouraging that he is getting used to it.}

Week 2:
--- 8, M --- The same artist, as well as one other person from LKSD will be staying the night at my house. There is a family night workshop w/ them I'll be attending too.
--- 9, T --- Regular teaching day. Fly out on the evening flight w/ dog. We're going to be in Bethel for a week, unless I decide to come home for Sat. night.
--- 10-11, W-TR --- AIMSWEB training. This is going to be the new mode of online summative testing for reading in our school district, starting next fall.
--- 12-13, F-Sat. --- Reading Committee meeting. - Talk about AIMSweb training and reviewing more textbooks and materials. Planning our final meeting and an additional follow-up ones in the summer.
14, Sun. --- free (I take that back. I'll be planning for the upcoming week.) .... Also the first day of Lunar New Year. It's the year of the Tiger.

Week 3:
--- 15-16, M-T --- CHAMPS training. This is a "positive behavior management" methodology that LKSD is adopting. I'll be taking the evening flight back to Nunap. Tuesday. The 16th is also Elizabeth Peratrovich day. I'm sad to miss the actual day w/ kids at school, but I'm putting something in the sub plans and we'll talk about her when I get back during our Civil Rights class.
--- 17-20, W-Sat. --- Teaching. I'm just going to start the Lunar New Year celebrations on Wed. The evening of the 17th we have a book club meeting planned too, for The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I have an audio/Internet class on the 18th and prep. before our meeting too. I forgot about that. Yes, we have Sat. school to make up for one of those no sewage days. It's supposed to be a "cultural day" which usually equates to a craft day. We have had some good things to do w/ the kids that seem relevant though. For the young grades this means switching crafts every 30-45 minutes.
--- 21, Sun. --- Planning for the next week of school.

Week 4:
--- 22, M --- Site In-service day at school... Co-leading CHAMPS at site training. (I just found out this was going to happen after our training in Bethel.)
--- 23-26 T-F --- Regular teaching. We'll be celebrating Lunar New Year still, as it shouldn't end until March 1. The Civil Rights unit will still be in force.
-----Friday, I'll be flying out on the evening flight w/ dog to Bethel. More likely, I might wait until the a.m. to fly out; I'm just going to see how I feel. I also might try to drive to Bethel on the snow-go w/ Baker in my coat. ... New plans: The pooch is staying & I'm driving down.
--- 27, Sat. --- Sara's bachelorette party beginning at 5:00. But, some friends and I will be cooking & prepping much of the day.
--- 28, Sun. --- Noon flight back to Nunap. to plan the next week's lessons.


I'll start March off with a bang. ~ 3/1, M = SRA (reading intervention program) training in Bethel.

03 February 2010

Smothered Larynx

Yesterday I awoke with a muffled voice. This I discovered when I tried to talk to my dog. Today the same thing happened, except I was unable to get my voice above a whisper.

So, I decided to use the wipe board w/ an Expo. It was so successful right away that I was able to use it all day, even with the first-graders, which kind of surprised me. I had to rearrange some lessons, like art b/c there are a lot of steps that need to be followed. Sometimes I had to interject w/ a whisper for clarification. Otherwise, all comments, reprimands (some public, some private), praises, and directions were given on the board.

02 February 2010

Fresh veggies. Delivered today. Divine invention.

Talk about salivating satisfaction! Upon opening my box of organic veggies from Full Circle Farm I was beckoned. The two fluffy bags of spinach among a variety of other vegetables and fruits arrived unscathed from the traveling and cold. I chopped and steamed the following foods that activated most of the major tastes, all slight and balanced. Cooking is such meditation too. Chopping, simmering, steaming, melding, stirring, pouring, washing/rinsing...

The ingredients (all organic, except for the almonds): zucchini, yellow pepper, celery, button mushrooms, spinach, dried cranberries, coconut oil, soy sauce, garlic, onion, ginger paste, some ghee & sugar to candy the almonds. I was a bit concerned about flavor but fought off the urge to add spices, thank goodness. The melding of the foods' flavors made it just perfect.

Yum! I'm so lucky.

It looks a bit messy. But, I guarantee Anthony Bourdain, Julia Child, & Alton Brown would approve w/ a kiss of the finger tips.

28 January 2010

Tribute to Zinn and Salinger

Unannounced to me until I attended a history class tonight, Howard Zinn died yesterday suddenly from a heart attack. He was 87, born in 1922.

Usually I am indifferent to death, people and pets alike. I was not always this way, but close. I grew into accepting that it’s just part of the way things go. Every now and then I am faced with the compelling sense of sorrow. Today, it has crept in (a bit ^_^).

Howard’s death is most certainly a historical loss. He, unlike many of his historian counterparts, was not intimidated by people or policy and sought the truth and to inform the public of it. A true polarizing entity, he was not revered by all as with many movers and shakers. Howard voiced support for Shministim, Israel's young conscientious objectors who waited in jail for refusing to serve the occupation. He spoke frankly about the intolerable subjugation of millions of Palestinians, and how it hurt(s) both peoples*” of Palestine and Israel. Howard was (is?) Jewish. He researched and shared the lesser-known stories on a variety of injustices in the world. He was vested with a vision for true justice and spoke out for equality of peoples everywhere. He has inspired many, and inspires me, to further endeavor down the road towards egalitarianism.

Zinn wrote in his autobiography, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train (1994), "From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than 'objectivity'; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it."
* Penny Rosenwasser, Jewish Voice for Peace.

As I was looking for photos of Howard I noticed the cover of The Catcher in the Rye in the mix. This made me curious about J.D. Salinger and his death or if he was still alive. Upon looking it up I discovered he died Today! Wow! Talk about a double wammy. He was 91 and died of “natural causes.”

This is a great J.D. quote, and apt. "I hope to hell that when I do die somebody has the sense to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetary. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody."

I haven’t had quite as intimate relationship with J.D.’s texts that I would have liked after the one I have read. I delved into The Catcher in the Rye (1951) late in life, last year in fact. I have a special affinity for J.D.’s invention and use of double contractions. So fun! I don’t know if that’s typical, but it was a first for me. What stood out to me about his work is the lack of pretense, the rawness, and simplicity. I was in that story, on Holden’s shoulder. I knew him. I wanted to know him better so much that the end of the book made me mad, because it was over. Look out Franny and Zooey.

The last time I felt sorrow about a death it was my grandfather who died 05-07-95, which happened to be the same day as when my little sister was born. Both occurrences happened in the same hospital. I was there, in the birthing room with my mom. Now, I cannot be anything but happy on that day, even in remembrance of its genesis, because I now have a beautiful little sister who has impacted my life in more ways than I ever knew possible. Like the phoenixes and death, sorrow moves on.

24 January 2010

Dog Owner

As of yesterday, I'm officially a dog owner for the first time in my adult life. This is a dog that I've watched monthly for the past four months. When I was asked if I wanted to take him, I could honestly say "Yes" knowing that I wasn't being rash. He's a super dog!

Name: Baker (He was named before I got him and actually has a full name, including a "Dr." and an "IV" on the end. But, Baker is what he goes by, among varied other nicknames, like Asparagus.)

Sex: Male (All parts attached until I can contact the mobile vet.)

Age: Maybe 9 months. The guess is that he was born in April 2009.

Breed: Village dog aka mutt. You can look and guess for yourself. Let me know if you're good at guessing; I'd like to read more about it.

Size: 29" long (snout to rump) x 18" tall x 20.5" chest ^_^

Here are some more old photos:

17 January 2010

Haiti Earthquake Relief + P.S.S.

Below is a list of some NFP organizations that can be donated to for relief in Haiti. They might ask you to specify where the donation is supposed to go to, like ICRC (Red Cross). If you choose another organization to donate to, make sure it's a grant and not a loan. Their economy does not need any more stress or debt.
American Red Cross - International
Doctors Without Borders
OXFAM-America Inc.

As I view the news, I recall and learn more about occurrences that have exacerbated the effects from the recent 7.0 Earthquake on the 12th effecting Port au Prince residents. Haiti was the first independent nation of color in the world, which got into the US's craw given that we still supported slavery at that time. I am leery of the Clinton-Bush donation organization. Both administrations were instrumental in keeping the oppression of Haiti. In Feb. 2004, Bush called the coup ousting the former President Amistead, when Haiti had a democratic system in place, despite it being against International Law to forbid him from going back. Clinton encouraged Haitian residents to abandon independent skills, like farming, to go to Port au Prince for factory work (aka sweat shops) for a more "stable economy." With the country being impoverished, the infrastructure is shanty and was more easily destroyed by the earthquake. People desperate for heat, logged trees on the same hills where housing is, making it susceptible to land slides. Structural integrity was sacrificed so that buildings could be erected w/ the least amount of stress on the economy at the time. Obama did decide to donate $100,000 towards relief efforts. This, of course, is wonderful. He also solicited Clinton and Bush for the donation organization. "Tit for tat." 30,000 Haitian immigrants are on a list to be deported from the USA; a Rep. in CA said that this has been temporarily put on hold. Maybe it could be abolished. This way they can continue to support people at the home island.

Pat Robertson had the gall to say that Haiti "made a deal with the devil" and that is why they have been suffering after their Revolt against the French for that independence in 1804. What a joke! Naomi Klien discovered that the Heritage Foundation announced this crisis as an "opportunity," as is often an excuse to take advantage of people in distress. This should not be an opportunity to minister to or democratize peoples of Haiti or for "corporate vultures" to move in, as Naomi stated. They need help to live, to repair the physical damage and to be able to rebuild their community while coping with bereavement.

Anyway, alternate motives aside, Haitian people are suffering and hopefully the help they need is there or getting there a.s.a.p. Communication lines have been down. Petrol is in shortage making it hard for relief workers and basic supplies to be transported, as well as roads being blocked. Clean water and sanitation systems have been down. Keep them in your thoughts, if you choose. Volunteer or donate, if you can.

I haven't meant for this to be a portal for my personal interest in relieving others' plight. Though, this is a vehicle for mass communication, so here it is. Thanks for taking the time to read. ^_^

P.S.S. (Post Solipsistic Script):
As far as my own life, I'm good. I'm reading a lot and enjoying that; I would do it in lieu of everything else if I had my choice about it. The book club is still active and we're meeting this Wed. to discuss our third book 1984 by G. Orwell. This weekend I did some household maintenance and carpentry chores, modeling after Kari Byron, of course. I've vowed to do something creative or artistic weekly. Also, I'm trying to keep my ears open for news and current affairs every day, a little bit at least. I never feel fully abreast. But, something is better then nothing. Ignorance is Not strength, maybe it's still bliss. ^_^ I have various podcasts and music that I listen to as well as purchased TV shows (Mythbusters, Mad Men, & Deadwood) and Netflix movies I watch arbitrarily. Oh, I'm still taking the history class, Egalitarianism and Evolving Democracy; that will end in April.

My knee is healing and I'm excited to do things I was not able to a couple of weeks ago. I have been able to use the stationary bike for a week b/c I now have enough bend in my knee. It's going slowly, but I'm increasing the degree of movement with that leg. I still have fluid, but it's moving out more, which helps with the bend, shown by the more prominent indentations on the sides of the patella (kneecap).

We were supposed to start school on the 13th. I had two students and many of the other classrooms had the same turn out due to the Russian Orthodox New Year Slaaviq ending the night before. This meant people were up until the wee hours of the morning and not out of bed for school. We held school Thursday. Fri. and Sat. we canceled because of frozen and broken sewer lines. This means that toilets have not been flushed in the school or teacher housing since Thursday. Ick! We have water, but can't let it drain. This means no dishes or showers can happen unless you have an alternate way to store the waste water. The maintenance guys just found another break in the line today, which they have covered and are heating. The plan in the air right now is thinking about putting honey buckets (5 gal. port-o-potty, beautifully lined w/ trash bags to be dumped into a lagoon) at the school, so that we can conduct classes and not miss more than a week of school, which we need to make up at some point. We have three to make up so far and it's looking dim for tomorrow. I'm excited for when we do start having school again, because we're beginning a Civil Rights and Feminism unit.

Weather: It's been gale since before I came back from winter break. We have hardly any snow on the ground and temps. have been in the negatives even without windchill. Windchill has been as low as in the -50s F. I stole a friend's snapshot from their blog (You know who you are by now. If you want me to give you credit, I will. Otherwise, you'll stay the preferred anonymous "friend.")