30 December 2011

C-mas Break in C-arolina

The visit home in NC was precisely what I needed - Low-key. I got to see most everyone I wanted & spend a lot of time with Tess, me parents, and some friends.

22 November 2011

What's Carey doing these days?

If you've asked yourself this question, read on. If not, read anyway.

This fall is going well all & all. Busy-ness at work has come to a lull. In-services don't gear back up until January & meetings have ceased. I have been out visiting villages and school sites as well. My third semester of ceramics has been challenging with our projects & my having to miss classes for work & rehearsals for a musical I was in, "The Rocky Horror Bethel Show." Though, I've tried some new things & like a lot of what I have made.

We've had a weekly writing group where we all write something during the week & share on Sunday mornings also - those have been posted on here too. I've also taken to cooking a lot, in spurts. Pinterest has so many great recipes and crafty things to do. As far as crafts, I've only sewn one pair of baby booties for Sara.

The weather has been rather cold with wind chill, but we've had some nice snow dumps. We didn't get hit with the flooding and big winds like the coastal villages. Lots of mornings with the hoar frost. Lots of evenings with the wood stove crackling.
I'm going to Juneau with a friend, Deanna, to stay with Ryan for Thanksgiving. Coming home to North Carolina for Christmas for about a week. Then, Deanna (again ^_^) & I are hitting up Oaxaca, Mexico for a week-long photojournalism class during the Three Kings festival before heading back to Alaska early January. Saying all this makes my life seem exciting. Mostly it feels ordinary, but I'm happy to have it. ^_^

Flat Stanley - From North Carolina to Alaska!

LKSD Recruiting Video

This video is old, but a lot of the things they're referring to are still true today.

More information about the Lower Kuskokwim School District can be found on the LKSD homepage.

20 November 2011

Piles of Yarn

4 December 2009, 20 November 2011

It sat in two distinct piles behind my desk on the bookshelf’s ledge, linked only by a few strands, hovering for a couple of weeks. I did attempt to start the repairs on several occasions, only enough to get frustrated and repeatedly put it back on the bookshelf to loom over me daily. A visible conscience.

The goal was to return this mass of disorder back into a tidy wound ball of yarn. This tidy wound ball of yarn has been a visual representation of the combined efforts of fourteen seven to nine year old children, plus a couple adults here and there.

I sat down ready to mend what I’d let become a huge pile; this twisted, colorful mound of 460-foot knitted yarn. Thinking of the daunting task, a huge sigh released from my mouth. It was already 5:30 on a Friday afternoon and despite my limited options for an evening, motivation had not found me. If I didn’t mend it, why should the students endeavor? What would I communicate by not fixing this twisted, colorful mound of knitted yarn they had such pride in? I had to persevere. I had to follow through.

Fortunately, a friend saw my eyes glaze over as I stared at the mass on the classroom floor. She decided to help me. Thirty minutes in, Maria said, “If I could only find the end!” Many people spend their whole lives trying to do that, trying to find what they’ve been looking for or why they’ve been looking.

It was routine the last time we measured this continuum of finger knitting. One selected child rolled the ball around their classmates who acted as stakes so that the yarn would stay close to the black line for an estimated measurement. The black line makes the perimeter of the basketball court – easily measured at 60’ the long way and 20’ the short way, 160’ all the way around. In wanting to give them the opportunity to run given the time we had, it was recess after all, I neglected to demand our usual regiment of re-winding the ball of yarn together. The yarn was allowed to be scooped up, disheveled, and placed on the bleachers. Later moved to bookshelf, where it sat.

Maria and I shook the strands, trying to untangle them section-by-section. It made me think about the strands tangled within my life. The intermingled merriment with efforts to continually learn. The time spent trying to understand how to untangle the obstacles I came to, that I continue to come to. And seeing beauty in the colors.

At first, we dedicated specific time to learning the skill of finger knitting and slip knots. It wasn’t long before the students could multi-task, like listening to a story at the same time. They continued the privilege, as long as they were engaged during questioning – truly being able to multitask. It became something the students did when they are finished with their work. They took great efforts to perfect their work. Pleasure and high self-esteem came when they’d knitted their small ball of yarn into a long braid. The task took several days for the fastest and over a week or two for some. They could only knit for minutes at a time, ten at the most during story time. We did have some issues with “sneak knitting” too. Those students ambitious enough even took theirs to lunch to work on after they ate. Students had reverence for finger knitting and all it encompassed.

This made the efforts of my friend and myself meaningful. And I was certainly appreciative of the help!

Our class tradition was that at the end of the day if someone had finished their knitting they were knighted. I’d found a plastic sword outside in the snow and adopted it. A student with finished finger knitting knelt on the floor with their yarn encircling them. The class would surround them in deafening silence, something unheard of during the regular day. I would tap each shoulder in timing with a chant something along the lines of, “On this sixth day of September two-thousand nine, Jaden Olsen knitted super fine!” or “On this twentieth day of January two-thousand ten, Carla Waska, knitted like she could win!” All of the students clapped in rejoice as I tied the finished braid to the end of the growing class yarn ball. And the student was awarded with a new little ball of fresh yarn to knit.

Our determination paid off – the twisted, colorful mound of 460-foot knitted yarn became tidy again. Motivation came from wanting to be a model for the students. But, I discovered in the piles of yarn we could find ourselves, our frustrations, delights, our efforts and hard work, mischief, pride, a community, joy.

13 November 2011

Pet Peeves

Dastardly pet peeves!
They’ve been known to drive men mad.
Women and teens too. It’s sad.

Some, give fit; protest at little things.
Chewing with a gaping mouth.
Picking their teeth.
Men opening doors,
Or sleeping with whores.

Not speaking direct.
Saying anything on their mind.
Brushing, brushing their hair.
Not wearing underwear.

Talking in the third person.
Hitting a pencil. Tap. Tap. Tap!
Flossing in your zone.
Talking on the cell. phone.

Who is embarrassed? Unaware? Annoyed?
Who really cares?
Some whine, fight, scoff, or flee.
What am I saying? They’re just like you, and me.

"Get over it." - JPB

06 November 2011


{Sonnet attempt}

When branches bend, the tree leaves shake.
Wind brings dancing snow to my door.
Frozen and wet it slaps my face.
Drifts move from place to place.

Crackling wood hisses in sweet
lullabies and when the
warmth wraps around like a blanket
napping becomes prospect.

Deserted Pacific island.
I run into the sea.
The cat’s upon a flying cow.
Thought a whisper, “Wake now.”

Waking brings the tender embrace
of cold upon my face.

30 October 2011

Sunday Morning Poetry

{Practicing 4 feet, 3 feet}

The cow roams desperate on hills
To find the grass that’s green

He rubs his head to stroke the hair
But never finds it there

Upon her lap he lays his head
Basking in forever

The thought may come when you do stroke
a shiny hairless head

The bird doth strike his head upon
my closed window glass pane

Fret not because he flew away
once again this morning

I do proclaim he will return
When light refracts again

23 October 2011


Flames from the bonfire ascended to meet the branch of a nearby tree. Though, fire morphs into smoke by the time the lowest branch touched it. Plump snowflakes come in their downward spiral to meet the seething flames with a hiss. Although they are going in opposing directions the fire and snow are both in flight.

Those scintillate flames captivate my attention. Enamored, I find it hard to look away, even though my eyeballs burn from the heat. Feeling the cool kisses of snow on my face makes it even more bearable.

16 October 2011


This is a delicious mess.
Upon first sight, saliva dripped down the walls of my cheeks.
This recipe devised. Tried. Modified each time.
With each bite, the taste seemed richer.
Driving my thoughts.
Holding my cravings.
Unwavering from the yearning.
“This could be the only food I eat for the rest of my life.” (thought bubble)

Though, awakened, I realize.
There are merits in nutrients,
And this is void.
Despite the interminable desire,
The craving,
Now I must to vomit.

09 October 2011


“Visualize a place that you really love, be there, see the details. Now write about it. It could be a corner of your bedroom, an old tree you sat under one whole summer, a table at McDonald’s in your neighborhood, a place by a river. What colors are there, sounds, smells? When someone else reads it, she should know what it is like to be there. She should feel how you love it, not by your saying you love it, but by your handling of the details” (Goldberg 20-21).
I digress from the prompt…


Alaska, Arizona, & Mongolia skies filled with clouds.
The Colonial pictures & flowered wallpaper in my Grandmother's old kitchen.
Bordering Mexican tiles, piled on the side of a street.

Baker's dog tag clinking as he runs.
Water lapping onto shore while the tide comes in.
Johnny Winter singing “Be Careful With a Fool.”

Tundra blueberries - as sweet as the sunny day they were picked.
Metal camping cups filled with coco & coffee, on a brisk morning – readying for a day of hiking.
Blue corn muffins with hot soup.

The down blanket nestled under my chin on a cold night.
Soft clothes next to a baby's skin.
Silky Forget-me-not flower pedals.

Blue does help me remember.

Climbing limbs,
Safely supporting me,
In light or dark,

White toaster oven
Warming thin toast & cheese
In Grandma’s kitchen

Warm pine sap always
Sticks to my hands when climbing
To my vantage point

A tree
The scent of pine is immediate, especially on warm days.
Stickiness binds my skin to the rutted and course sheath.
My skin separates from the bark as I climb, but the film binds, even for days after.
It gets on my clothes and makes my shoes adhere as I walk in the house.
*shhhrriippp* *shhhrriippp* *shhhrriippp* *shhhrriippp* *shhhrriippp*

All are reminders of the feeling of independence. The pleasure of studying the life that continues whether I’m watching or not.

One of my favorite places -

01 October 2011


It’s not easy being hair. Well, it is easy. All I really need to do is sit there, grow out where I’m supposed to, don’t grow where I’m not. What isn’t easy is dealing with all of that stuff people want to do with me. I suppose people think of me with reverence. I suppose people associate me with their lifestyle, their personality, their class, their creativity, their inherited genes. Now that I think about it I control a certain part of everyone’s mind every day of the year. I control a certain part of your mind too. I might as well share with you some episodes I’ve observed. Behold my power – the power of hair!

Usually it’s men that are bald. Some of them have complexes about it. From many a woman’s perspective it’s really quite sexy. The simplicity. The raw baring of the face. Nothing to hide. A lot is told about a man’s confidence in the way he accepts the hair he was given, or for what he was not. The same could be said for women who are balding – women! Hair thin enough to see the scalp. …

To be a teenager in the 1980’s meant a lot of time spent on your hair. There has always been a sector of the population that spent a lot of time on their hair. But, in the 80’s the small sector was those who did not adamantly style their hair. The problem with those who did is that instead of recognizing that the styles were bizarre, they became fashionable. This I suppose could be said for the centuries of hair styles. So, if you were a female styling your hair in the 80’s you may remember some of these “fashions.”

The crimp iron. For those unfamiliar, the crimp iron is like a wavy curing iron. Once heated the iron is just squeezes the hair section by section until all of the desired hair is “crimped.” This makes for pronounced rollercoaster waves, obvious that you took 30 minutes frying your hair. Followed with hair spray to hold this effort in place for 10 hours.

Perms were also of utmost fashion. Many born with straight hair envied those with divine curls – like those on a Victorian porcelain baby doll. Perms usually happen at a beauty salon, but are also optional using over the counter perms in boxes. Mainly what you needed to decide is how kinky you wanted the curl. There varieties range from wavy to rolling curls to the distinct spiral curl. The process involves applying warming chemicals to the hair, wrapping in rollers of the desired diameter and covering in aluminum foil. After sitting for an hour, inhaling the toxic aroma, the rollers can be removed and the hair washed. That will be the last washing for a couple of days so that the hair can soak in the fine chemicals designed to fight the hairs’ natural intent. Once styled, hairspray was applied.

The flat iron. For those with curly hair the top desire was to once again do the opposite of the hairs’ natural intent. The flat iron was used to make those with naturally curly hair straight.

One of the most famed fashions was that of the side splash. If a person had a “cow lick” they had an advantage. If not, one used a curling iron to pull up straight on one side of the face. Then, inordinate amounts of hairspray were applied.

The case:
How could the hair have gotten to that place, so private, so inward? It could not have without a specific action. And since this woman had no recollection, drunk as she was, something happened to place it there without her consent. A witness saw him there. The witness saw him, on her limp body. The photo showed that single hair on her cervix. “Beyond a reasonable doubt.” Consequences unknown, it was the deciding factor for his verdict.

We Bethylvanians have started a writing club. This is the first prompt from the last weekend of September. These stories are unfinished. My idea behind this style was to write vignettes so that it would be like opening a door into someone's life, listening in, and then closing the door. It didn't quite turn out like that, but oh well.

Here are some other ideas for vignettes: growing old, body hair, models, dyed:, natural, afro, animals... And I wanted to add an epilogue.

23 June 2011

Introducing my Digital Portfolio (xtranormal flick)

This is the introduction to my ASWC Digital Portfolio on our Ning site. You won't get to see my portfolio there, but I will be putting a lot of the pieces on here - some are already posted.

Click here - I couldn't embed the flick.

On xtranormal, there are preset scenes and actors to choose from. The creator does have to write a script for all of the actors and choose what facial expressions or body movements the actors are doing. Because the audience is primarily teachers in my Summer Institute group, I thought this would be a good resource to show that might be useful in the classroom. Students would have to write a script and think about pacing, voice, timing, body movements, etc. As well, the computer reads the scripts phonetically and rigidly follows punctuation. It would be a good mini-lesson on fluency and how punctuation changes meaning. I forgot to take that whistle at the end out and you can't edit after publishing. This would be a good way to get students to be mindful about their final pieces (scripts) before publishing. You can preview and save along the way.

21 June 2011

I am from... (Prezi)

I am learning how to use Prezi (emerging).  This is the I am from... poem I posted earlier this month in Prezi form.  Hit the gray play arrow to move forward - when you're at the end, the triangle will just be an outline.

19 June 2011

Cinch IS a cinch!

This is a fun little tool that can be used anywhere from the classroom, to letting friends & family hear your voice on FaceBook, to recording an audio journal for your children as you notice things about them as they grow up.  And it's free!

Then & Now


I remember using a rotary phone & I preferred it to the new button system.  Ours was this gross pea green color.  How fast technology has changed in the world!  If only human equality and egalitarianism were so ubiquitous. 

In some regards we've come a long way (i.e. women in the workplace).


In other ways, we have a long way to go (i.e. homosexuality, racism).

18 June 2011


I was among 2,500 half-marathoners at the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage today.  There were people from all 50 states attending.  Of the 13.1 miles, I probably jogged 30-40 minutes off and on, walking the rest.  It was an absolute perfect day - sunny, 44 degrees to start us off at 9:00!  Just lovely!!

I know this isn't a particularly flattering photo of my feet.  But I had to show the nasty bruise I acquired on my second toe - that nail is not staying on for long.

17 June 2011


This is the view I have from my window.  Frequently, I stare out the window when I write.  I ignore the buildings, except when spying on people through their windows at dusk - it's easier to see inside that time of day.  Usually they are oblivious to being watched and carry on their ordinary tasks of taking something from one room to the next, reading on a couch, opening or closing the window, eating dinner, etc.  Some apartments only bear pictures on the wall, the shades blocking my view, or there is black vacancy, camouflage never revealing movement.  It is an omnipresent feeling from my end, nonetheless.  Someone is probably watching me too.  

Most days I leave the window open, even though it's a little chilly.  The chill reminds me why there are still patches of snow atop those mountains even though it's June, mid-June.  The wind slides along my cheeks and sinks into the bones in my hands.  I involuntarily take deep breaths more often than I used to whilst inside.  My body appreciates the oxygen.  And the blanket and laptop keep me warm.  A shiver sneaks in every now and then.  

There are urban sounds, but those too get lost when my other senses take over.  When the magpies and seagulls' raucous cries fitfully surge into my ears, it washes the sound of traffic away.  It is a juxtaposition of a shocking piercing sound and the pleasure of knowing that nature carries on.  One evening a seagull flew by.  As it approached, it's mouth widened, almost in slow motion, and I could see into it's dark throat, surrounded by a pale yellow beak.  It seemed to be so near.  It was, only twelve or so feet away.  As it swooped upward that agape beak voiced a long shriek surely calling to it's following mate.  They were flying on the same invisible line.

Trees in the foreground rustle with the gentle daily breeze and serve as a lounge for those aforementioned birds and others that are not so vocal.  There are the translucent leaved Birch trees, my favorite on the planet.  The young ones have a shiny copper bark that flakes, a stark contrast to the scratchy white of mature elders.  Deep opaque evergreen trees are everywhere, some taller than my four story dorm.  The air is accompanied with downy plumes of the seeds from cottonwood trees that are like dandelions all over campus.  Chokecherry trees adorn their white flowery regalia and refresh the air.  Those intertwine within the bounds of University housing.  Many more birch and evergreens frame outside the court.  I do enjoy these trees, rarely seen in my ordinary life on the Lower Kuskokwim delta.  

As you see, sky fills over half of my window prospect.  Today, as many have been, revolves between being sunny and overcast with the bulbous fluffy clouds.  Light still washes over the landscape.  The mountains illuminate: golden in the morning, bright in the middle of the day, and sometimes they are the only object spotlighted at sunset donning a pink and orange sherbet hue.  This picture makes them seem insignificant. From my view, I am close enough to see the brown soil mixed in with those snow patches and the lighter shades of the green tree-line that slither into that dark opaque evergreen as it melds into the birch and evergreens around the perimeter of these buildings.  

Breezes drift into my room.  Often.  Most of the time, the crisp air brings with it a bouquet from the chokecherry trees. It is sun warmed floral decadence.  I cannot help but wish for the scent to stay - so I keep breathing in, and slowly out still trying to hold some of it.  Sweet grass, fresh cut grass whirls through my window too, though not as often as the floral reign.  Chill even has a certain scent to it.

Sunday morning, a bell chimes to welcome it’s patrons - every hour.  In between, the persistent songs of a modern organ, apparently from a church near by, accompany the sun licked verdure tree leaves as they shimmer and twist, resembling a couple on the dance floor.  Likewise, and just now, a single white feather waltzed in front of the window, moving from side to side and then continuing on to the left in sweeping curves and twisting out of my view. There is a new squeak today coupled with the clatter of several other unseen birds. Dandelion tufts continue to hover over spots in the courtyard and their yellow kin.  

I have to pause now an again, as my senses are tapped.  It's good to let that sink in, I think.  After those moments, and during most of them, I contemplate what to write next and continue the rapid pressing of fingertips on computer keys t-y-p-i-n-g_s-e-n-t-e-n-c-e-s_t-o_t-h-i-s_s-t-o-r-y_a-n-d_o-t-h-e-r-s.

Planes soar beside the ridge line of the sparsely shadowed West face of the mountains.  The propellers’ drone manifests before the small white 207s, looking to be the same size as one of those seagulls closer to my temporary home.  A hum of traffic remains, interjected with a siren, barking dogs in the distance, birds chirping merrily, or the faint footsteps of passers chattering about the days prospects.  Every now and then laughter bellows from a couple on the lawn grilling burgers and obviously enjoying each other.  

Contrary to what it may seem, I am not trapped, wishing for freedom held on the other side of these walls.  As I am here, I am also there, free and in love with all of it, sharing views with you.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 
Purpose - I started to write an e-mail for a friend of mine, based on the photo I took of my dorm window.  As I was writing, it morphed into a story for everyone. Then, I thought it an appropriate reflection of my time in this room, writing.  The paragraphs are organized by sense.  I rely heavily on description when I read and tap into my imagination more often than not; many people do.  Something I like about writers like Seth Kantner, author of Ordinary Wolves, is the craft of rousing the senses - a way to bring nostalgia or provoke the imagination to make the reader feel like they are there with the writer, experiencing it together.  

I am open to, in fact welcome, your feedback about writing pieces like this.  
Press me!  ^_^
  • First Impressions?
  • Sentence fluency - where can I break up my long-winded-ness & vary sentence length?
  • Do you feel writer woven in with the tale of the view (esp. beginning & end)?
  • Constructive criticism advice?

In honor of Father's Day

Yes, I actually heard about this via my rigorous, studious writing class.  
It was a side note.  ^_^ 
Adam Mansbach's "Go the F**k to Sleep" as read by Samuel L. Jackson.

By the way, given that this blog has been a place for my pre- & published writing, 
expect some of more to show up here soon.

09 June 2011

I am from…

I am from blue jeans, from Coke, and gravel dirt roads.
I am from the Tobacco Barn with open beams and extension cord electricity.
I am from the Dogwood trees, the Pine needles and bark covered in sticky, gluey sap. 
I’m from salty air at Pawley’s Island, and tall threads, from Regina Catherine and Jeffrey Boggus, Hill and Steele.
I’m from working days; and quiet nights; and a Poplar tree that allowed the black snakes to get into the attic, one which liked to slither down the window pane in the moonlight, making me quiver. 
From Beth’s letters and forbidden drawers.
I am from Freedom church.  Floundering self-direction. 
I’m from the Piedmont of North Carolina, blackberries, meat loaf, and Funeral Beans. 
From the wicker baskets, the musty nylon, and propane burners, with the sunrise chases of hot air balloons.
I am from snapshots on developed film and printed on Kodiak paper, fading on the stairwell walls in Grandmother’s house.
An egret at Pawley's Island, SC - place of 20 years of Steele beach trips.

Shadow poem, modeled from George Ella Lyon's.

Note:  My grandmother's sister, Beth threw her love letters down the well in Mississippi.  My grandmother fished them out & read them while watering the lawn.  Beth's letters remind me of all the stories my grandmother has told me, this one being a favorite.

05 May 2011

Wood Flooring - Yahoo!!

The wood flooring I've been talking about forever was finished this week (yesterday)!!  It's been a long two weeks with lots of cleaning (sweeping-my least favorite chore), shifting, more people in the house, walking around new pathways, piled out counter tops, wood junk on the porch, trash in the boat, hauling & hauling trash... (Notice the blue light outside - this was taken just after midnight.)

White oak from the living room to the bathroom.  Hickory in my room. 

21 March 2011

Nulato, Alaska

Next stop, Nulato!

The route?  Bethel - Anchorage - Fairbanks - Nulato. 

17 March 2011

Ceramics (Spring 2011)

These are some of my completed ceramics pieces.

Fall 2010:

Spring 2011:

These last bowls were fresh off the wheel... to be donated to the "Fill the Bowl" fundraiser for the Bethel Food Bank.

Brain Map

I just finished spewing everything that I have on my mind currently for work and personal endeavors onto a giant Post-it.
(Don't try to read the fine print. ^_^)

25 February 2011

Baker aka Best Tricks Maven

I realize that I should write on here more.  By now, probably the people who actually know me have stopped checking this site.  This is no long update blog post, which is probably what is deserved at this point.  What can I say, I've been fortunate, living life and "being here now."

This is to brag a lil' bit about my puppy (almost 2), Baker, who dominated the 8th Annual Bethel Dog Show on 02/20/11.  His trick? - sign language.  He knows about 20, but showed the crowd: sit, left and right shake, roll over, wait, and eat. 

Here's KYUK's post about it.  There is a short blurb from the broadcast at the top.  These photos were on there too.

KYUK - Bethel Dog Show
Photo Gallery

While we're talking about dogs, K300 is a pretty badass Iditarod qualifying race blasting off from Bethel.  KYUK has a lot of snapshots from this year, and probably past years too.  But, this is the year that I actually got to see the teams take off.