Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Post Thanksgiving

"The very fact that a man is thankful implies someone to be thankful to." John Baillie

Sorry, No Flights out on Thanksgiving or the Next Day
Well, I was all packed up and ready to leap into my chariot for that 40 minute flight into Bethel to give thanks with my compadres there. Alas, fyi to all, no flights on Turkey day. So the feast would be had in Quin:) Talked to my own family back in the Dairy State just as they were about to eat. They put me on speaker phone and gave me the honor of saying grace transcontinentally! What a hoot! From there everyone dug is and the phone was passed around, envisioning what was taking place around the yellow Formica table 3500 miles away in my kitchen I started to really miss my fam. With that Ani and I decided to be thankful for having a warm loving family that we could miss, not only that but we decided to be thankful for having a warm loving family we have right here in Quin. Enjoyed a wonderful thanksgiving at Principal Eric's and Sherry's. It was a spread fit to give any thanksgiving dinner a run for its turkey. It started at 2 pm and people didn't stop cycling through until after 6. It was a joy to visit with everyone. I'm thankful there were no flights out:) Today still no flights out. Too foggy and on 'weather hold' with any luck the air traffic will be up and running tomorrow. Oh, well that's how it goes in rural AK;)

Ginger Bread Cookies

So Wednesday night the girls stopped over and we made ginger bread cookies! Thanks to Mike sending up all necessary tools and the gingerbread mix. Nope it wasn't happening from scratch we had our hands full with just the minimum as you can see. But they turned out and everyone got to take home a tasty treat for their families.

Ski Joring to the School to get Cool Whip
Had to go get Cool Whip from the school refrigerator on T Day.
So I said to my self," Self, you need to bundle up and get walking your parkaed self down to the school for cool whip." I replied to myself, "Self you will get there and back faster if you take the dog." I agreed with myself. It was as I stepped into the skis that it hit me,"Self, you just referred to your dog in the same manner of which one would refer to their car." Interesting shift of what is considered legitimate transportation in my world.

Passing of the Bowls-A Yup'ik Tradition
After the Thanksgiving feast was over 'exchanging of the bowls' began. In the local tradition women fill a normal sized kitchen bowl full of different treats and often times homemade agutaq (eskimo ice cream) then they knock on the doors of neighbors and offer the bowl which is received by exchanging a bowl full of goodies in return. What a fun tradition! Let's start it back home.

The Squatter
We've named him/her "Sandy" from the Little Orphan Annie movie, because that's what he looks like. For the past week each morning when I head to work and Ani gets tied outside in his dog house, out pops the head of 'Sandy', who appears to have rested well, spending a cozy night in Ani's temporarily vacant house. Then one morning much to our surprise not only Sandy, but the 'big black dog' that has been running around lately evading the shooters of loose dogs, climbed out. Ani briefly tried to act territorial growling and barking. Evidently that didn't last long because the next morning Sandy didn't even bother so get out, Ani just happily wiggled his way in relieved to not have to use his own body heat to warm the place up. Apparently Ani now has a part time roommate.

P.S. This is Ani when I vacuum.

Hope Everyone Had a Happy Thanksgiving.

    "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Just Another Day in Paradise

"The more it snows (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
On snowing. And nobody knows (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
Are growing."
~Winnie the Pooh

Morning in Quinhagak, Alaska

Barthelman's to the Rescue
I'm happy to report that thanks to the selfless help from our dynamic duo aka Jim and Steph (featured to the right and left). They arrived from volleyball tournament to my neediness...remember the frozen pipes? So they jumped into action, Jim crawled under the house despite the -20 temp and went to work pulling apart the pipes, and hammering away at the tube of ice. Meanwhile back in the house Steph had pots water boiling and was attacking the problem from above. Within 1/2 hour of their undertaking water was draining and I was back in business. They also shared the secrets of helping it not to happen again;)

Banana Bread and Turkey Day Incoming
This weekend I had some help from one of the kiddos. Together we made our first loaf of banana bread! Thanks Gram for the super recipe. I'll be in Bethel for Thanksgiving with my friend Anya as long as the there's good weather for flying. So HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!!

Small Miracles
(besides the banana bread;)

Coffee Anyone
I forgot to tell you about how fun God is. The week before I received the Bunn Coffee pot from my friend Amanda in the mail, a couple other friends had sent 2 packages of gourmet coffee neither one having any idea about the fancy new cafe machina on it's way! God is in the small stuff. It made me laugh and smile.

Warm Toes Warm Nose
The other day Sherry and I went out for a jore with 2 dogs each!!! It was like water skiing but on snow. We were practically airborn. About 1/4 of the way through our journey my toes started to ache with cold, I promise I'm not a wuss, I grew up in the ice box of the nation but I also know when my toes aren't gonna make it ...yeah, it was like -20 (my eye lashes were freezing shut). It was soooo fun I didn't want to turn around, plus Sherry is the amazing mother of a toddler and an infant so I didn't want to cut short her opportunity to do something she enjoys. I whispered out a hopeful prayer knowing full well the circulation in my little piggies has always been less than optimal, as we zoomed across an icy frozen lake, "Please God I need you to warm up my toes! We can't go back yet." It was supernatural for my toes because once they become ice cubes they can't get each other warm again and I'm done for. But that day they miraculously warmed up, toasty as if I was sitting by a fire. Yes, I too wondered if they had just thrown in the towel and succumbed to frost bite. Nope, they were truly warm. God is in the small stuff as much as He is the BIG stuff.

What My Skis Want to Say
Hi, it's us, the skis. You know, it hasn't been all waxing and hot irons for us. Our days of chasing down the finish line were over a few years ago when she decided to start calling us her "rock skis" and splurged for some hoite toite new newfangled Salomons. But well, we've been around, had our day in the snow. She bought us during her first ski team season in 9th grade in the elementary school cafeteria before she could drive, yeah, that long ago, might even have been before the whole stealing of the family car incident...pre driver's license that was...(Rachel Aside: "Okay Skis some things are better left unsaid.") fine, okay, okay, anyway what we mean is we've seen her through a lot: high school races, ice box days races, we even skied her to the cabin one winter, first koretloppet, first birkie, and many after that. Yes, back in the day she spent hours waxing us up in all the right temps. But for last few years that's been left to the newbies, we've been lucky to get a quick courtesy coat pre season. But hey, we're still going, we refuse to be stuck in a corner. Why, just last year her mom learned to skate on us. Then when she decided to move to this tundra, who do you suppose was chosen to come along. Not those lightweight rookies, nope who could trust all that fancy schmancy carbon fiber pilot blinding bells and whistles. She went with what she knew she could count on, what could handle the birkie snow, rocks and dirt in spring or the last few unusually warm winters. Skis that could get the job done no matter the terrain. She opted to bring us. Old faithfuls, the 'rock skis', 16 years of clamping the bindings down and whooshing off through trails. Now you can find us zinging over mounds of tundra chasing sled dogs. It's invigorating, we are being reinvented! You never know when your adventure will take a sharp right and enter totally uncharted territory, be ready to embrace it the journey. At least that's what we'd say if skis could talk...

Angelo's Throw Party
My dear friend Jerilynn had a "throw party" today in celebration of her son shooting his first ptarmigan! Congrats Angelo! Here are some great pics of the festivity in spite of the chilly weather lots of people showed up to join in. That's Jerilynn and her mom throwing all the goodies to an eager crowd of women and children from the village! They have 'specials' at the throw parties, that's where a certain gift is for a specific person so that person's name is called out before the gift is 'thrown'. Like today there were specific glass bowls for elders which were handed out, then to our surprise Jerilynn's mom called out Steph and my names and threw us towels instructing "This is for the Maqii-Steam Bath:)"

Remember Max, the Grinch's Dog????

He's thinking "Seriously, must we do this?"

"Fine, look at me I'm a Caribou........." (Right)

"When blizzards roar out of the north
and freezing rain crusts the land.
It's God's breath that forms the ice,
it's God's breath that turns lakes and rivers solid."
Job 37:9-10

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stop, Drop and....

"One person can have a profound effect on another. And two people...well, two people can work miracles. They can change a whole town. They can change the world." ~Northern Exposure

Hello from Quin:) At right you are being greeted by Alyssa and I (no, I am not referring to us in the introduction quote, I'm referring to Sherry and Eric keep reading:) modeling the standard attire one must robe oneself in before leaving your house lately. It will be this way until May;) Go figure on one of our coldest days yet, I have to trek back and forth to toilet and feed nearly all dogs in teacher housing at noon. Many teachers are traveling this weekend as both the wrestling and volleyball teams have tournaments abroad. So, the few, the proud of us are left behind to fend for our canine pack. Between all the teachers here we have a whopping 16 dogs! Joyously, I am guardian of 5 this weekend. Brrrrrrrr.

At -30 degrees Fahrenheit their pipes freeze solid clear up through the drains and Alaskans finally think about unpacking their long underwear. Yes, you are looking at ice in the drain in my bathtub. That is currently being remedied by wedging a space heater in the 6 inches of wall where the piping is accessible. Principal Eric rigged this "wrong in so many ways even for Alaskans" set up. Next to the 'fire waiting to happen' in my wall, he strategically placed my fire extinguisher (which had been under my kitchen sink) and left saying "Well, call the fire department if you can't put it out." "Okay." I agree since it is the 'fire department' who just created the fire hazard in my wall. On the upswing it is working, the ice is melting as I type. I have downed a Red Bull and am up on fire watch the duration of the thaw. Welcome to the Real Alaska folks;) It was either the space heater or my hair dryer. Disclaimer: Mother, it is not as bad as I just made it sound, I spiced it up for effect.

Recess at 20 below looks more fun than 20 above in Quinhagak. These sleds were purchased when Jim got the skis for the school last year too.

Ani on display in the latest fashion at our house. I'm getting addicted to the whole knitting thing. He would like you all to know he is that little kid who was forced to wear the sweater that his grandmother knit him even though it is clear to everyone including himself that "they are all gonna laugh at him". Of course, I don't speak from experience. I love everything my Grams make! Especially my Jr. Prom dress! Thanks Gram. (Pause I need to go make sure I'm not burning my bathroom down.) -Nope, ice is still melting.

Justine to the Rescue! Two days in a row now she has trudged across the tundra that separates her house from mine, pulling her purple plastic sled behind her, just in the nick of time. She has met me on the snowgo side walk. Both days I've been loaded down with boxes from the post office. She cheerily trots up along side,"Need some help?" she asks through her toothless grin with the confidence of knowing she's a sight for my sore arms. "Yes I do!" I exclaim as I happily lighten my load in her sled. Together we tug the load to the house. She has also played an integral part during the overabundance of nightly bathrooming and feeding of teacher dogs. She ambitiously volunteered to be quite literally drug around by Ani as I ran back and forth swapping out dogs and food. Every once in a while as I sprinted in and out of houses I would see her go sliding by on her stomach arms outstretched clinging to the leash yelling "Stop Ani! Help! Wait! No, No I'm Okay! Ahhh!" Ani unhindered, proceeded mushing about with his little hostage in tow. They both enjoyed it so much they had a repeat show tonight. By then she had mustered up the courage to have a go at ski joring for the first time! She is one tough little chica and did really well! Ani was surprisingly patient with his new joree! So proud of both of them!

Above all: you wanna here the most exciting news in Quin? Sherry wrote a grant and won! A grant given out by Jenny's Jones! Yep, that TV talk show host, she has a grant program where people can write in about needs they have for projects that will help their communities. She picks a person she feels will use the money to better their community. They are called Jenny's Heroes, and our Sherry is no exception. She and Principal Eric bring so much positive energy to whatever they are directing their attention. They have been and are such a blessing to me and I absolutely know that goes for the school and community of Quinhagak! Because of her hard work and effort, Quinhagak will be building and maintaining a GREEN HOUSE!!! Jenny Jones is funding it! Sherry was surprised on Thursday by a phone call from the talk show host herself, informing her that she had won! Everyone at school knew. Eric got her to bundle up their 8 month old and 3 year old to make the trek down to the school on some bogus excuse. Upon arrival, which you can see is in true Alaskan style, (not to worry she isn't being attacked by a wolverine that is her 8 month old in the 'original' Baby Bjorn. I wanna be like Sherry when I grow up!) teachers and students alike were eagerly smashed into a classroom anticipating the big surprise! Surprise it was! They handed a 'reluctant to even enter the suspicious crowd' Sherry the telephone to which Jenny Jone's on the other end announced the news! You can check it out for yourself on Jenny Jones' website (maybe even write your own grant).
Jenny's Hero Sherry Marousek/Pederson Quyana Sherry! We appreciate you!
" A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things,
but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!"
Proverbs 31:10-30

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One For The Blog

"Some days you're the spray, some days you're the bear."
~Ancient Alaskan Proverb

Have you ever lurched 3 feet off your bed as you are falling asleep, you know that feeling of falling or leaping, maybe somewhere in between. Well, I did just that this morning and at a most inopportune time it seems. Don't get me wrong, I'm safe here in Quin but for my own peace of mind and paranoia I keep my bear spray within arms reach while I'm sleeping. Along with my dog... anyway a few nights ago I took the safety feature off my bear spray can, don't ask me why. And thus, this particular episode begins.

So a little before 5 am this morning I do one of those leap/lurch/jump moves in my sleep, vaguely I remember whacking something hard with my arm, sending whatever the object was across the room with a slam but the noise proved not to be enough to disrupt my peacefully slumbers... at that point. Ani's sneezing, however, no wait it was more like gagging, his threats of throwing up were enough to slightly rouse me. I drowsily peered down at him shining the cell phone in his direction to see if I'd be on clean up duty. I didn't see anything but he was heaving, wait no he's hacking, it's more of a...cough, cough, cough, cough, gag and now I join him. I try to suck in air but its choked off and followed immediately by more coughing, snorting and gagging. Now my eyes are watering I'm waking up quicker than I want, to find that I can't inhale without coughing out the attempt. Ani and I are a sight to behold. Now fully awake, confused and choking, I leap out of my warm bed and grab at the door! We both make a break for it, barreling into the hallway gasping for breathable oxygen. And we find it, only until the peppered air dissipates throughout the rest of the house. So for the next 1/2 hour I'm forced to use a fleece blanket to filter the spicy air. Yes, I have successfully maced myself and my dog out of bed with bear spray this fine Alaskan pre-dawn morning. Didn't we prophesy this back in June when the can was first holstered to my hip, up and down those river banks of the Kenai.

To be certain my hypothesis was accurate, I went back to the scene of the spray to investigate. The can, just as I had suspected, was laying upside down on the other side of the room. Yup, the oil was on the nozzle, proof was in the pudding so to speak, when I backhanded the can in my jumping/lurching- fit of sleep it had, in fact, fired. Releasing a poof of capsaicin, the active ingredient, into our otherwise fresh Alaskan air. This Counter Assault Bear Deterrent is 'tough enough to stop grizzlies from attacking humans' and to stop humans from sleeping in. A little ego check from God just in case I was getting a bit too sure of myself. Go ahead, have good laugh at my expense, we did.

"I realize how kind God has been to me, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you." Romans 12:3

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Breakfast Club

"One can't complain. I have my friends. Someone spoke to me only yesterday." ~Eyeore

The Regulars: At 9 am this morning when Ani and I were just barely bumbling out of bed and fumbling around with our Bunn Coffee Pot mi amiga Amanda sent, there was a rap, rap, rap, on our door. Hair looking less than unkempt and in my royal robe I opened it to 5 smiling faces. "Can we ski?" they chanted almost as if they had rehearsed it. The skis, you remember were in my house because we had all skied home from school Friday afternoon. So we got everyone suited up and off they whooshed across the street and onto the tundra. A few stragglers flailed around in the road having slipped on the icy crossing but they pressed on. Within about 45 minutes my house became the warming shack, in they marched having skied their little hearts out. "Can we visit?" they asked looking up with rosy cheeks and runny noses. Come on in. Out came the dress up clothes, markers all over the floor, the kitchen was converted into a restaurant store, the continuous game of hide and seek resumed and the house came alive. I'm so thankful for these kiddos, they are so full of joy and it is contagious. They keep me in line. Remembering what is important and what is not. I even got some help doing the dishes as you can see!

My helpers. The cleaning fairies.

Hair Styling for Ticas (Costa Rican costume) Hide and Seek

One day earlier this fall, maybe closer to my first week or so in Quin, while we were traipsing though town and chattering about everything, Jim and Steph pointed out one of the first missionary houses built in the village. Then Jim said, " You know what happened to the first missionary to Quin don't you..."

The Story of St. Juvenaly

Told by Father Oleska

In summary, this is what we know about the Priest-monk Juvenaly of Valaam. Born Jacob Korchinsky, the future martyr was a military officer who resigned his commission and entered monastic life less than three years before being recruited for the Alaskan mission. Young and energetic, he announced that he intended to visit the villages along the Pacific coast of Alaska and then cross the mountains and travel along the Bering Sea coast northward toward Chukotka, to establish a link with the Russian settlements that were rumored to have been established on the "nose" of Alaska that points directly toward Siberia. We know where he was heading when he left Kodiak in 1797, never to be seen again.

The oral tradition of the Yup'ik Eskimo and the Tanaina Indians, as well as the diaries and reports of St. Jacob Netsvetov, and three other Orthodox missionaries who visited the site in the 19th century, concur that Father Juvenaly was killed by an Eskimo hunting party near the village of Quinhagak.

Approaching the beach in a little boat, Juvenaly attempted to preach to the men who were ordered by their leader, a shaman, to dissuade him. They made hostile gestures and eventually aimed their spears and arrows at him, trying to scare him off. But the boat continued it approach, until the shaman gave the order to kill him. The guide and assistant tried then to escape, jumping overboard and swimming to the opposite riverbank, but the hunters got into their kayaks and killed him as well. According to the Yup'ik version, the shaman then removed the priest's brass Pectoral cross and tried to work some magic, but failed. Each time he attempted the rite, he felt himself levitated and became afraid. Removing the cross he tossed it aside, saying that there was some sort of mysterious power in this object that he did not understand and with which he chose not to deal.

Trying to confirm this version of events, I've asked people from Quinhagak if they've ever heard about a priest being killed near their village a long time ago. They have. One of them repeated this story to me with an interesting detail. Just before the priest, standing in the bow of the boat, was killed, it looked to the men on shore like he was chasing away flies. Indeed! The hieromonk was either blessing his murderers or praying, making the sign of the cross, a gesture the Yup'ik hunters had never before seen.

Why were the armed Eskimo hunters so fearful of an unarmed stranger and his guide? We cannot know with certainty, but there is a reasonable solution, linked to the hieromonk's pectoral cross. Apparently for thousands of years, Alaskan shamans had been carving ivory chains, in imitation of Siberian shamans who traditionally wore metal ones. St. Juvenaly was mistaken for an intruding, alien shaman. The only ways to protect ones self from such a dangerous foreigner were either to chase them off or kill them. St. Juvenaly was the victim of the first tragic inter-cultural misunderstanding in Alaskan history.

What principle can we learn from the tragic death of St. Juvenaly of Quinhagak? The work of
evangelization is necessarily risky, dangerous and may require self-sacrifice, if not to the extent of martyrdom as the shedding of blood, then a less violent but no less Total self-offering. To `commend ourselves, each other and all our life to Christ our God,' as the services of the Church constantly encourage us to do, can, of course, be done in one final, glorious moment, as in the death of St. Juvenaly, but it is today highly improbable. We must offer ourselves less dramatically, day-by-day, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. We are witnesses, martyrs, either way. There can be no mission, no evangelization, without self-offering, self-sacrifice, and we should not expect glory, fame or any earthly reward for the effort. We will misunderstand and be misunderstood, but we must persevere in love, and if necessary, self-sacrifice.

And today we (many women from Quin and teachers) are able to be part of an amazing women's bible study going on at Steph's Monday nights. We are studying the book of Esther with bible teacher Beth Moore through a DVD series. Thanks to Jim and Steph's mom gifting it to our group. In the village of Quinhagak we also have the blessing of being part of a very active loving Moravian church family. Reading the story of St. Juvenaly reminds me to be thankful for those with the Lord who came long before us and made a way. It is good to remember what God has done, is doing and will do.

"At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children."
Matthew 11:25

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Friday

"Life here is so elemental. So real. Without the interference of civilization you can really experience things like,...silence. Silence and darkness in its purity. Right now, right outside my window all I can see is a black void. Endless darkness. It's totally exhilarating, and I feel very lucky to be here. Very, very lucky." ~Dr. Fleishman, Northern Exposure

Kids in, out, and under my house...the other day as I neared my house after school I started hearing my name being hollered but couldn't for the life of me find it's caller. Then, movement under my house, 2 of the kiddos had tucked themselves under (remember our houses are on stilts so we don't sink into the tundra) and were awaiting my arrival from school having beat me home. LOL. "Can we visit?" they sang out in unison. How can I saw no? The kids who visit love to dress up in the costumes from Halloween, my scarfs, my chunky shoes and oddly enough my fleece robe has become the symbol of royalty, as the wearer runs down the hall proclaiming "I'm the queen!" Robe flying in the breeze. They write letters to Mike, who they all miss dearly and matter of factly informed me a few weeks ago, is more fun than me. No offense. We have hot chocolate to warm our cheeks, draw pictures, wash dishes (if I'm lucky;), and make Mum's famous canoe on the floor. We have fun.

Exciting events at school this week? Tyrone learned to tie his shoes! This was a pretty big deal and he reported that he would be teaching his sisters later that evening. I've been called a lot of things in my life, but never "Louie" before this week. Thursday afternoon on his daily drop by Wendell trotted in my room, smiled and greeted me with a cheery,"Hi Louie!" Somewhat surprised I replied, "Hi Cindy." Realizing his slight mix up he chuckled, "I don't know why I called you that?" shaking his head, he headed for the door.

Eager young skiing enthusiasts busted out the skis and poles today after school before the cold north wind blew in. Jim was able to get the school several pairs of skis, boots and poles last year. We even have school skijoring equipment so that's the direction we will eventually head this winter! Once we get real comfortable on our skis and round up enough pulling dogs we will be off mushing across the tundra-the Quinhagak Skijoring Team:) Note the 'boot-pack' we designed so the girls could ski their winter boots to the ending point (my abode) without having to come back to the school to pick them up again. It worked pretty slick.

On my dark walk to work this morning the stars are out, the air is cold and if I look straight up (I have to move my parka fake fur hood out of the way first) the big dipper empties itself on Quinhagak. Behind me Orion stands guard, frosty snow crunches with each step and God's Thumbnail moon is anchored just above the silhouetted mountains, I stop and consider taking a picture for you but my camera takes crappy night pictures, I know it won't do this scene justice. So I stop for all of us just before the store and take the whole stunning view in for a few minutes, a couple for you and a couple fore me. Beyond the range, if I strain my eyes I can imagine the first few amber hues of sun trying to creep over. I greet the two others that are out so early as we pass. These quiet walks to work before the world wakes up are comfortable and real. I look forward to them, walking through the changing of Quinhagak's tundra seasons. This morning was like none other. Peaceful, dark, silence...crunch crunch crunch...

Tonight I'm sitting on my couch after our semi-weekly teacher gathering at Marsha's house to do arts and crafts stuff, knitting, beading you name it. Knitting was on my docket this evening while enjoying my last can of Red Bull (they are hard to come by out here). Steph and I hiked back through the escalating winds and piled snowdrifts across the road which were not there when we arrived 2 hours before. So now I'm camped out on the couch, thinking of you all and blogging along as I watch an episode of House my favorite series since Northern Exposure. I DVR it and watch it as often as I can. Last Christmas while visiting my brothers in Arizona, to my delight there was a House marathon on the USA channel. My dear brothers cut me off after the 6th straight episode thinking they were saving my TV starved brain. Ha ha no brothers here... joking I only watch 3 episodes at a time anymore;) Ani is snuggled at my feet occasionally trying to push them off (he's a couch hog), the Christmas lights that the kids helped me put up today are twinkling a rainbow of colors above us and the outside wind continues to howl it's lullably.

Shout out to: My Lac Courte Oreilles Family back home! Quyanaqvaa (Chi Miigwech) you guys, Lora, John, Kayleigh, Ann, Donna, Grampa Mike, all of you! You are such amazing blessings to me. I miss you to the tundra and back!

The Lord's Prayer in Yup'ik
Atanrem Piicautii

Atavut qilagmetellria
Atren Kenciknarili
Angayuqauviin tekilli
Pisqucin nunam qaingani piuli qilagmetun
Neqerkamtenek ernerpak cikirkut
Assilngumtenek-llu augariskut
Wangkutnun assiilngilriit augaritelaucimcetun
Picetaarutmun-llu pivkaqsaunata taugaam assiitellriamek aviuskut
Angayugauvik, piniq-llu, ucurnarquciq-llu elpet pikngavki

"When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face." Lamentations 3:28