Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Halloween and Life

The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.
~Jack Handey
Today behind the wrestling mat partition, the conversation went something like this:

Student 1: "Whoa you got old hands! (Pointing for student 2) Look at her old hands!"
Me: (futilely, neither student was listening) "Those are veins. And it's 'have'. You 'have' old hands."
Student 2: (Matter of factly) "It's because she got gray hair. Look." (Pointing for student 1)
Me: (to the wrestling mats) "Those are blonde highlights. And it's 'has'. She has gray hair. Okay, back to work."
Student 1: (involving me again)
"How old are you?"
Me: (giving up)" 75."
Student 2: (Frankly) "My upi (that's grampa in Yupik) is older than you. He's 85 maybe."
Me: (Raising my eyebrows and noting to self that 'number concepts' just shot up to #1 on the priority list) ....So much for enjoying my 30s. Kids say the darnedest things...on with the lesson "The dog is jumping over the stool..."
As I was being dragged along the road by Ani the other day we came up on the kids having a hilarious time pulling each other around on their snow go. I remember doing that at Gram and Grampa's farm with my cousins. We would get laughing so hard we could barely breath, fun times. So, the tundra has taken on the appearance of a snow cross track! I'm hoping to get the skis on on that track this weekend after the big Halloween expedition. On that note, I am thoroughly prepared for all the little superheroes and movie stars, thanks to so many of my wonderful friends in the lower 48 sending me candy. I was actually worried about having enough prior to getting 4 boxes of the sweet stuff, obviously my concerns were unfounded, God is totally into the details, He amazes me. The Quinhagak kiddos will be well sugared, better yet the blame is on all of you;) Naomi, our incredible and always smiling, post office attendant, was laughing as she pushed these 3 boxes toward me. She was also probably wondering if I had some kind of 'business' going on the side. I had to get a pic as she was shaking her head watching me try to load them up, peer over the top and head out the door. Something fun about Quin is that as you are walking along the road, just about everyone on four wheeler and occasional car will slow down to see if you might need or like a ride. So I didn't have to walk far with my surprises, Jim hauled me home on his 'honda'. Earlier that morning I was picked up by a mom bringing her kids to school and a few days before I caught a ride with some students on their 'honda'. Everyone looks out for each other. There is a warmness in this cold climate, that makes Quinhagak a beautiful community. I have a confession (sort of) maybe it's a pre-confession, is there such a thing?: I think I'm going to be addicted to 360 North, it's the Alaskan version of PBS "Its the channel for Alaskans by Alaskans..." I'm writing this because it's on TV right now.

This is a picture of the new housing against our snow blanketed mountains across the tundra.

Shout Out To: Mary Lou Who turns the BIG 30 on the 30th! Happy Golden Birthday My Friend! And to Amanda who turned the BIG 30 on the 26th! Hope it was fun in Puerto Rico! To Robyn my Kilimanjaro climbing/wound care healer friend who is arriving home from AFRICA!!! Jambo! Welcome back:) Auntie Jan, I love the branches I'll have a forest in my house soon:) Will post pics for yas. Thankful for each of you sharing life's journey. Have a Safe, Happy Halloween.

"Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs..." Psalm 8:2


  1. Eric's parents were in the library today, so I showed them your latest blog. She ofcourse knew the post mistress. How cool is that? To be here in Wisconsin and have someone know the people of Quinhagak! It is super windy tonight. Temps are mild - 50's. We had rain yesterday and a bit day. Tomorrow I head to Hudson for a meeting about collecting the shoes boxes for Operation Christmas Child. I could do some shopping, but I may just head home too. Our trip to Boston was wonderful - kind of a long trip home via Atlanta. Happy Halloween to all of you. We did Trunk and Treats Wednesday Night at church - great fun.God bless!!!!

  2. Here's a dumb question, but does anyone live off by themselves near the mountains? Are those pipes for fuel? Do they use the same house design for all?

  3. Hi Kris, So good to hear from you. Nobody lives off by themselves as far as I know. They would be living off the land for sure. The pipes are for sewage and water. Fuel is hauled to our houses and stored in tanks. As far as I know anyway. The temps here are cccccccooooollllddd. But softened when the wind dies down. I'm getting ready for the trick or treaters. Isn't trunk or treat great? We do that at the Wesleyan Church in Hayward too.

  4. This was our first year, so hope to build on to it next year. In the past, for many years, we did a Halloween Alternative party - Bible costumes, suppper, games. We did games last year during our regular class time. Since we had canceled classes earlier in the month due to the Harvest of Talents preps, we hated to totally eliminate another week so this we could do the last 20 minutes of class. I drove to Hudson this morning to pick up the Operation Christmas Child supplies. I am still tired this afternoon from the early rise and being on the road. At least we get an extra hour tonight. I hate to see the sun set earlier though. It's been light out until 6 - now it will be 5. I am not sure we will get any trick or treaters - we are often gone, but I will leave lights on and have goodies just in case. Have fun tonight.

  5. Who is getting the new housing and how many? How are they transported? They all look the same. How many kids are you expecting tonight?

  6. To Kris and Lynn,

    The new housing were built under BIA(Bureau of Indian Affairs) for low income people. Three houses were built. The new houses that are currently being constructed are being built by NVK (Native Village of Kwinhagak) under the NAHASDA (Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act)HUD program.
    The materials are tronsported via barge in the spring and fall. My older brother is the housing director for the village and thanks to him and along with the "village people", houses are being built to allieviate overcrowding in a lot of those homes.
    Hope this helps. Henry and Toni Mark

  7. That's a great help. I love the roof colors. Another question - do you have a local electrician with all those power lines and phone lines? Same thing with the sewer/water pipes. Do you have a local plumber? Just like the housing, I assume all those supplies have to come by water or fly them in? Thanks for the info. I love Alaska!!!!

  8. Does Eric have a dog sled team? Does he run them just around the village, or down the river, or where? Do people climb the mountains in the summer or it is tough to get across the tundra to get to them? They are so pretty.

  9. Toni and Henry! Quyana for the answers please continue to share:) I'm learning too! What are you guys doing in Maine? How long have you been away from Quin? Do you get back very often?

    Kris, Not sure on the plumber/electrician question but I know some of the men working on the houses not from here. Eric does have a team and he and Sherry will be running them on the snow go trails. They run them behind the four-wheeler usually along the beach when there is not snow. People boat up to the mountains to hunt, fish, berry pick but I've not heard of anyone climbing them yet:)

  10. Kris & Lynn, AVEC ( Alaska Village Electric Corp.) provides the elctricians. They are usually Anchorage based and some come from surrounding villages as long as they are certified. Water & sewer construction is done by CRW Inc. another Anc. base contractor working w/NVK. the phone lines are taken care by GCI. You guessed it...
    Rachel..Toni is currently in Palmer,Ak. working as a Grant writer and will be home for the holidays in a couple weeks.
    I have been commercial fishing all summer in Quinhagak while my wife was in Palmer,Ak. working and we came home in September in time for our sons wedding. We are trying to make our transition to Alaska and hope to live in Alaska next year or so. I moved here from Quin. in '82, Love the East Coast and the ocean!
    Send my regards to Aunt Fannie and David Simon.

  11. Waqaa Henry! I just received your greetings from John Teddy! Quyana and hello there back at ya. What a treat to have you reading and posting on my blog! I look forward to your continued insights:) I will absolutely let Fannie and David know you send well wishes. Fannie has been in and out of the hospital recently but seems to be feeling better this week. The East Coast is beautiful though I'm a Minnesota Northern Girl at heart. You take care. Sending good thoughts to you from Quin.