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


  1. I love your blog! I have wanted to go to Alaska too since high school. I am currently applying to teach there for next year. What village are you in? Are you a teacher?

  2. Yeah, A kindred spirit. Yes I teach special education and I am in the Lower Kuskukwim School District which consists of villages within a hundred mile or so radius of Bethel, Alaska. Quinhagak is 70 miles from Bethel, apply to come here (I'm biased) but we are the best! I am on a one year leave from my teaching position in Wisconsin. I needed to come here because its been in my heart for years!!!! It is amazing if you want to meet some of the warmest people in the world in the coldest climate and are up for a change and adventure. Chase Your Alaska Meredith:)

  3. Congrats on the grant money - great job Sherry. We finished up Operation Christmas Child - not bad for the first year of collecting in our area. 30 boxes came in from Park Falls this morning, so that was a nice surprise. We had some come from Winter one day. Our warm weather continues - 50's by day and with the clouds, it's has stayed in the 40's by night. We could get some light snow Wednesday night, but we'll see. We are heading to Il on Wednesday morning. What will you do for Thanksgiving? Any special foods? God bless -

  4. Hey Kid, I guess the frozen pipe certainly puts a damper on everything that is necessary, so to speak. If I don't get back to you during this holiday time have a very blessed Thanksgiving!!! Blessings!!!

  5. Hi Rachel,
    I am out of the loop as usual, here in my little world, and found out not that long ago you were in Alaska. I actually have been there several times as I have family up there, they live in Kenai. What an adventure for you! I finally have a website up and am attempting to blog, basically it is just to showcase more of my work. I have not read much of this yet, but looking forward to it. So will you be back in Hayward, or will you stay there? Well I wont take anymore of you time right now, Happy Thanksgiving!
    Sara Thiry

  6. Sara! Hi, I had no idea you had family up here. My neighbors (some of the teachers) are from Kenai. Small world as usual. Great for you on blogging its fun and a wonderful way to showcase your work! Congrats. Thanks for posting. I'll be home for Christmas Lord willing and then not until next summer when school is out. Please hug Melissa for me! I sure miss you all. Thanks for dropping a note:) Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

    Kris! I think I'm headed to Bethel as long as the weather allows to spend thanksgiving there with friends. You enjoy your family in IL and congrats on the success of Project Christmas Child. That's wonderful. Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

    Joe! Seeing as I only need pipes for water you are right lol. Thankfully we have honey buckets so there is no worry in the realm of septic issues, just dump the With that I'll wish you and Faith a Happy Thanksgiving too!