Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Can We Visit?" They Sang.

"Children make you want to start life over."
~Muhammad Ali

"Not today." I explained to these 4 adorable faces, after they were rapping on the door.
"Well then, can we please have a freezee??" one bartered.
"It's cold out." I argued.
"No, it's not. We're sledding. We're warm." they countered.
"Okay." I folded.

Mr. Freezees: they're not just for summertime anymore...

"For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom. What's more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it's the same as receiving me." Matthew 18:2-5

Saturday, January 30, 2010

To Jor or Not to Jor, That Isn't Even a Question

"I'm always doing things I can't do that's how I get to do them." Pablo Picasso

"Let's Go!!" After our run out past the Kanektok River, I clipped Animosh to his house (he went 9 miles running with me today) so he took a well deserved break while I jumped in on the ski joring extravaganza with Sherry and Steph. Sherry lent me Quin and Arolik, whoa definitely not my Ani. I was at their mercy. The two power houses (below) drug me half way across the dog lot while I was trying to get my skis on. Luckily DH was out walking her dog at that moment and graciously brought me the skis from where I had been torn away from them in the dust (snow) as I was being mushed away on my knees, then my side and finally my butt, against my will. From a seated position in order to anchor the eager, leaping, barking huskies I buckled on ye old faithful rock skis and began trying to stand up, of course before I could they were off, sprinting with all their might toward Sherry! She had Comet and Seekers (pictured top) and was already 1/4 mile down the snowgo trail. I somehow haphazardly righted myself getting enough balance to stand up on my already speed sliding skis. It was hilarious, picture a person barefoot water skiing behind a boat, spinning all around on their back and body. They do this intentionally, my acrobatic production was completely out of my control. Thankfully and miraculously I able to pull myself up and get going the same direction as the dogs at my own will. It was something to behold, we put on a great show for all the carpenters working on the new housing units. Meanwhile Steph and her two were waiting for Sherry and I to come flying by! There we were, all three of us and 6 dogs joring along on a very beautiful above zero day in Quinhagak. It was wonderful. I'm so thankful for my friends! What fun! I wish you were all here with us! Miss everyone so much. Happy Saturday Everyone. P.S. after all was said, done and thoroughly bruised, Sherry informed me that she wears knee pads when she jors: aha! I thought to myself as I looked down at my skinned up knee through the hole in my 'way too expensive' ski pants. Note to self: tricks of the trade.

Dennis and Tim had a successful hunting trip today! 2 Caribou:)

"The amazing grace of Jesus Christ be with you!" 1 Thessalonians 5:28

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Night in Quinhagak

"Now for the traffic report. Maggie O'Connell just drove down Main Street...too fast."

Chris In the Morning, Northern Exposure

Urban Ski Joring (Katie this is in honor of your Urban Dogsledding)

"Hike, hike! Let's go!" Steph and I cheered on our future mushing teams just like Sherry taught us, as we whooshed off onto the snowgo trail taking full advantage of our new fallen snow (not a lot but enough to ski on). We skied right out of teacher housing down the road, past the honey bucket dumpster (which I learned is called a 'hopper') past the washeteria, past the dumpsters out onto the tundra toward the mountains. So here are some shots of our trek.

I'm having a glass of milk right now and I realize I didn't put enough milk (the powdered kind) in the pitcher when I made it. That's right! The milk I drink comes straight outa the box, just add water. The stuff I made tonight? Less than skim, kinda milk flavored water.

Running to the middle of nowhere
last night I inhaled the scenery, to my right hot pink sunset and to my left snow covered mountains. Then over the little hill okay its hardly a hill but when you get on the other side of it you can't see the village so it is elevated enough to lose the horizon behind it, hence for our purposes we will call it a hill... on my way back 'over the hill' I see my friend Kathy on her way out! We high five as we jog past each other sharing a moment of exhilaration, comradere, appreciating the joy of just getting out there and running for it. It's fun to be in good company of others who enjoy similar experiences,isn't it. Better yet, to encourage other, push each other along. It's like a marathon sometimes, we're all in pain but can't help smiling cause together we are finishing the race! What a great moment! We're doing it, we are really doing it.

What Dreams Say...Pauline one of our stellar teachers here, shared with me today that she had dreamed about scriptures last night. This jogged my memory about my dream last night; it wasn't nearly as profound as Pauline's. I drempt that I had "Sesame Street" tatooed on my foot? You think I've been working with little kids lately??????

I was fighting traffic on my way to work this morning, as Wasillie, our Village Police Officer more well known as 'Was' the VPO, cruised by in his truck. I waved, I couldn't see him but I knew it was him, recognized the truck, even in the darkness of the am. That was right before Justin zinged past me up on foot, he speed walks to work, I wander. Then the Hooten Clan, all 4 of them, loaded on their wheeler, the Clampets you might refer to them, flew by me. Then Principal Eric sped by on his wheeler with a few miscellaneous kids he picked up along the way. Kids are walking with parents and being hauled over on wheelers. The draw this dark morning is school. Like a magnet we all make our way to the big blue tin building at the north end of the village. This scene makes me chuckle I love working in the bush.

Brightest moon in 2010 appears tonight for anyone who's interested!

"Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,
I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
God, don't let me down!
I'll run the course you lay out for me
if you'll just show me how." Psalm 119:30-32

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Just Some Meandering Thoughts

"She gave me more than just a sweater vest that night. She gave me all this. Nothing. She gave me nothing. That's what I need. No phone book, no Game Boy, no pasta maker, TV Guide. Nowhere to go, nothing to do." Dr. Joel Fleishman, Northern Exposure
A friend of mine sent a package, I got it today...I thought it was from Mike but surprisingly so, it wasn't. It was from a friend who probably laughs to himself and shakes his head when he thinks of me here. At any rate, in the mail today he thoughtfully sent electric blanket. Exactly what I didn't realize I needed. I confess Mum's voice immediately jumped into action echoing in the recesses of my mind (I really am working hard at only giving her a say once in a while, sorry Mum). "Electric blankets catch on fire!!! They're not safe." she'd warn us. Yes, the only 'electric blanket' we used in the Skime household was forbade to be plugged in. And a good thing too, eh? Hard to believe we all managed to survive the driving of the army jeep at 11, 9, and 7 years old, stampeding around on horses, hauling guns all over tarnation, jumping out of the barn, and flipping over 6 wheelers... whew, it's a darn good thing Mum woke up long enough to make sure the electric blanket wasn't plugged in. And this is where I should throw in the fact that Gram was evidently all the while, trying to burn the house down unknownst to us (but that's another story, for another time) my point is, you can see the futility of Mum's best intentions. Anyway I'm feeling like a rebel here and am plugging in my dangerous blanket as I type.

Speaking of Mum's best of intentions, she had been blocking my requests for Red Bull to my family members back home. She's real sneaky-like if you don't keep an eye on her;) The fam would be asking if I needed anything way up here in the cold tundra. My one little petition was always for just a simple smallish piece of civilization, "Yes," I would request, " Could you please send me Red Bull." But no one ever did. Come to find out, my cautious Mum was again 'saving' me from myself and kaboshing my 1 measly request. "It's bad for you!" she protested when she was called out on the carpet at Christmas. Yep, everyone present was nodding in agreement as to where the fault lay. "She wouldn't let us send it up," they apologized. It was a conspiracy headed up by none other than my electric-blanket-phobic-mum. She means well and I love her. So I got my own Red Bull.

I-Can-A-Rod, I-Will-A-Rod, I-Dit-A-Rod
So Steph and I went for a walk down to the beach this weekend with our pack o pups and decided it was a very good idea to become mushers. Stay tuned this could get really entertaining. Steph even spent the weekend researching where she will be purchasing her sled and equipment! Guess what of all the places in the world, she found the best price in Hayward, Wisconsin at Affordable Dogsleds! Imagine that! The dogs, as you can see from the very factual pictures were more than enthusiastic. Ani and I have a bit of work ahead of us as you can see, lol.Duct Tape is the best thing ever... it holds me together up here, my freezer stays shut cause of a sturdy piece of duct tape, my coffee pot keeps perculating because of duct tape, my floor has no hole anymore and my luggage is like new...thank God for duct tape:)

Getting From Here to There
I was perusing the local shopper after it arrived in my p.o. box the other day. Half way through admiring the two page spread of snow gos (snow machines) for sale by misc. businesses, I realized there were no ads for cars or trucks in this paper. All the major dealers of vehicles buying space in our weekly news tribune are those snow crossin' companies like: Arctic Cat, Ski Doo, Polaris and Just made me chuckle, I forget how different the concept of transportation is here.

Extra Extra READ ALL ABOUT IT!!!! Principal Eric and family are featured in COUNTRY Magazine this February/March 2010 edition. Eric wrote the article about living in the Quinhagak, Alaskan Wilderness and Jim (our 5th grade teacher/resident photographer/ and Steph's hubby) took all the great pics. If you want to take at fun peek into someone else's Quinhagak, Alaska experience pick up the issue and find his article. I think it's called: A Family Day in Alaska or something like that, either way it's written by Eric Pederson, photos by Jim Barthelman. Enjoy!

Shout Out to Sinduk
(sorry if I spelled that wrong)! Quyana for always delivering my yummy fresh produce that we get from Full Circle Farm every two weeks! It's like a christmas present when he knocks on my door and announces "special delivery" then hands me a box of fresh green food!!!! And Happy Birthday Bobbi Ann! Celebrating you today:)

"One day one of the local officials asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?"
Jesus said, "Why are you calling me good? No one is good—only God. You know the commandments, don't you?
No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother."
He said, "I've kept them all for as long as I can remember."
When Jesus heard that, he said, "Then there's only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me." This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go. Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, "Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God's kingdom? I'd say it's easier to thread a camel through a needle's eye than get a rich person into God's kingdom."
"Then who has any chance at all?" the others asked.
"No chance at all," Jesus said, "if you think you can pull it off by yourself.
Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it."
Peter tried to regain some initiative: "We left everything we owned and followed you, didn't we?"
"Yes," said Jesus, "and you won't regret it. No one who has sacrificed home, spouse, brothers and sisters, parents, children—whatever—will lose out. It will all come back multiplied many times over in your lifetime.
And then the bonus of eternal life!" Luke 18:24-34

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Eat, Sleep Over Party, Run

"In order to tell if a human being is young or old offer it food of different kinds at short intervals. If young it will eat anything at any hour of the day or night." ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

"That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I'd just run across the great state of Alabama. And that's what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going." ~Forrest Gump

Running on the Tundra
Today Ani and I ran 8 miles! All the way to the Arolik River and back! It was a b-e-a-Utiful day on the tundra, that translates as sunshiny and NO WIND folks:) It was the kind of day that makes you wanna run as fast and far as you can. For us that was 4 miles out and back;) We passed the 'gas station', the beach road, and the weird pole things that I'm told keep the tundra cold (apparently they are stuck in the ground to keep it frozen around the lagoon or maybe it's to keep it thawed I can't recall right now?) humm, anyway we kept on trucking past the cell phone tower, and the dump, all the way to the 'dead end' or rather the Arolik end. Interesting that in Quin we have no 'dead end' signs...he he that would be a moot point. Somedays it's really unsettling to think that even if I wanted to, I can't just cruise out of town further than 4 miles anyway. So, we ran today.

Happy Birthday to Michael
Michael turned 13 last week and Niki, his mom, made a unique cake, at the request of her now teenage son. This cake takes creativity to a whole new level. It's Niki's creation and can only truly be appreciated by one who has lived without a flushing toilet. The ingredients: 1 chocolate cake crumbled, chocolate syrup, miscellaneous candy bars, tooties rolls, one clean bucket, 1 plastic bag for liner and a few strategically placed and cut to size of...oh...say, toilet paper, strips of white fabric. Drum Roll please......May I present to you all for the first time: The Honey Bucket Cake.

Slumber Party
Friday night the girls came over and we had the long awaited slumber party that I had promised we'd have back in December. They started arriving at 5pm before I even got home and left this morning at 10:30 am. I'm still trying to recover. The party consisted of: dress up, eating MUSH (this is a camping favorite made of instant potatoes, stuffing and gravy, you just mix it all in a pot, add water and voila! Now that's my kind of cooking! Since we also put up the tent in the living room again I figured I could get away with it. We had a genuine fashion show complete with runway (hallway), spot lights (flash lights) and an announcer (that would be me, my voice isn't the same). Then there was the mini 'throw party' with the fun stuff Mike has been sending. At 10:00 pm whoa! we loaded up in the suburban and headed to the school for a game of kickball and an entertaining tour led by our excellent speech therapist Kevin who happened to be in the village this weekend and was willing to help me out for an hour or so at the school. It was actually his idea and a great one (Quyana Kevin) the girls loved it. Who knew that a tour of the upstairs of the school could be so exciting, they even ooooed and aaaaahhhhed at the heat exchanger machine because Kevin made it sound so amazing. Did I mention that we went through the "drive thru" at "McDonald's" (playground equipment) on our way to the school. I was having a Big Mac Attack and Venessa offered to pay. We yelled out our orders at the monkey bars and proceeded to the next window at the slide then passed all the pops, ice cream and burgers out until we were all content with our happy meal experience;) It is so good to be around the kids, they make me have fun. We finally got back to my house and everyone settled in for a good nights least that was my hope. It was musical sleeping quarters for about 2 hours then everyone finally fell asleep: 4 on the living room floor, 2 in the tent in the kitchen, 1 in the spare bed and 2 on floor in the spare room. Then I went to sleep. That was around 2 and they were up again at 7 am!!!!! As we loaded ourselves into the suburban to take them home they said, "Can we have another slumber party tonight???"

Must be Cabin Fever
So I registered for the Tour of Anchorage Ski Race in March during the time that we will be in Anchorage at the Iditarod. Principal Eric is skiing it too, THE RACE IS ON!!!! Kidding, Eric, only Kidding. Since I'm missing out on Ye Ole Birkie this year I'm gonna take the old faithful 'rock' skis for a spin through Anchorage! This made me think of interviewing for this job back in April of last year, I was asking Administrator Carlton and Principal Eric if I would be able to fly back to ski the Birkie on a long weekend. There was long pause (surely stifling chuckles from the rookie question) on the other end of the line before they both started trying to make it sound like it... "might be possible... by a long stretch... if all the planets were aligned... and the weather was favorable"...etc. I now understand their hesitation to entertain my idea of flying to Wisconsin for a "long weekend". Anyway the Tour, emphasis on 'TOUR' (a very different word than R-A-C-E) should be fun:) Training on running shoes, lol.

Mickey Mouse??
Wendell was pounding away on my door this afternoon, I answered to his ear to ear grin. "Wanna see what I have!" he nodded toward his cupped hands. For a moment I thought he might be showing me a frog, then my brain grabbed a hold of the thought before it got too far away, 10 below-no frogs possible. Wendell laughed, opened his hands and shoved it toward me...a poor freaked out hostaged field mouse. "A mouse!!!" he cheered, hoping for a shock. "Gross Wendell, you know they bite?" I informed. "Got gloves," he stated and turned to walk down the steps heading for the next house and it's unsuspecting victim. "Thanks for sharing Wendell." "You're welcome" he called back.

Gram had her gall bladder out yesterday and is doing well. This means she will start rehab for her stroke sooner than later! We are all so thrilled with how she's doing. Thank the Lord:) Again thank you all for your prayers.

Shout Out To: Larissa! Happy Birthday! It was her birthday this weekend too:)

"And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity." 1 Timothy 4:12

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Case of the Januarys

"The present is the ever moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope." Frank Lloyd Wright

Sometimes in January...
You just gotta do something adventurous like...
The Kuskokwim 300
Well Congratulations, John Baker won the Kuskokwim 300 Dog Sled Race this Sunday afternoon. Steph and I were all geared up to go in and partake in the semi-local event, offering our keen dog sense as volunteers. But when the mercury dipped down to -50 for a several days and snow was nearly nonexistent so we decided to forego the 300 and buy a couple plane tickets to Anchorage round about March 3ish....yeah, we're going to the Iditarod!!!!! I kinda feel lik
e I won the lottery, odd I know since I'm dishing out money but I never thought I'd get to see the start. I keep up with it every year and silently imagine (like everyone else) that I'll do it someday when I grow up and become a musher full time... even did a few math units following the Iditarod. Anyway we're pretty excited to go to the big city and join in on the festivities.

Sometimes in January
You just gotta do something meaningful like...
The Singspiration
Our bible study ladies had our debut at the singspiration this weekend. Thanks to Kim corralling all of us up there. We made a joyful noise unto the Lord with a whole lot of others from the community. We sang "Cleanse My Heart". If I had more internet I would be able to download the video of some others singing.

Sometimes in January...
You just gotta do something crazy like...
Dress Up
Okay girls this one is for us...I am 16 times a bridesmaidish person...Michelle's, Shay's, Missy's, Briggie's, Maira's, Amanda's, Heather's, Meggie's, Layla's, Heidi's, Brooke's, Tanya's, Eric's, Spoke at Amy's, Read at Mark's and Greeted at Dawn' the last few years I seem to have accumulated quite a resume of wedding experience. Now I don't want to take away from the fun that I have had at all these weddings and the honor is has been to stand beside my dear friends and family dreaming, dressing, dancing, adoring, bridal showering, bacheloretting, and a whole host of other activities but the other night when Anna stopped by was no exception. She was immediately hauling the heavy, smooth, taffeta out of the closet and pulling it over her head maybe even before she had her boots off, lol. "Rachel, zip me up!" she ordered turning her back to me. "I need a crown." she said as she rummaged around until she found just the necklace that would work. Then lugging the train through the house, she finally unloaded it on the kitchen floor, and there had a tea party I was officially invited and hot cocoa was the main entree. What I hadn't expected was the rare opportunity to enjoy the other side of the veil, lol. Refusing to have any part of my adult-like rational and dismissal of her initial petition by my arguing that the dress doesn't fit me, Anna still insisted that I put it on!!!! "It's your turn!" she adamantly ordered shoving the infamous dress at me. (I don't think any wedding dress has had as much fun as this one has lately). "You have to." she added nonchalantly," Come on, I zip you up." "Oh, it won't zip up on me sweetie, it's too small." I matter of factly laughed to her. "How you know?" she countered with a furrowed brow. "Put it on," she instructed and again pushed it at me. "Okay fine, but it's too small." I laughed knowing I could easily demonstrate and be done with the stubborn 6 year old. "No it's not," she last worded me. With a little wriggling and tugging, sure shootin, she zipped me up! "I zip you! See!" she laughed. By the time I was in The Dress, she was Cleopatra and I know God was busting a gut at the two of us parading around the house. I'm sure my neighbors were wondering about me since Anna wasn't tall enough to be seen through the window but, I am. Who cares, was pretty tickled that the dress did fit, it looks so small. It was too funny not to get a picture, I did trip over 'the dress' as if on cue and fell while trying to get this picture which sent Anna into an instant belly laugh as you can see, somehow I still managed to scramble to my feet and make it into the shot. Now that I have confessed I'm posting these pics so you can get a laugh too.

"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 1:24

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Great Flood of 2010

"Time for the weather report. It's cold out folks. Bonecrushing cold. The kind of cold which will wrench the spirit out of a young man, or forge it into steel."
Chris Stevens, Northern Exposure

"She (my mom) brought the outdoors inside." Rach
Trust me the quote fits this week's events in Quin.

Standard Attire This Week
Our SIOP Itinerant Traci getting ready to catch her plane, good thing we don't have to go through security clearance before hopping on a bush plane! This is how we keep toasty warm on the ride out to the airport and on the plane. She's modeling arctic appropriate attire. Funny thing is, we were wearing this stuff around our classrooms this week too. That wind will blow through anything including our walls. The school was so cold, nobody took off their snow pants or scarves!

Feeling Creative

It is 50 below we have no snow and my house has no heat.
For the first time in months I caught a ride 'cuz I could not feel my feet.
Pipes freezing, kids sneezing, cold weather gear put to the test.
Even my words froze with my toes and fell to the ground, there to rest.
The wind howls, Ani scowls as he slinks inside his cold house.
He'll stay cozy as in the squatter mozied and is curled up quiet as a mouse.
I want to go joring or maybe a run, even a walk would be fine.
But the village is wise, nobody's outside, I might just go shopping online.

The Great Indoors
The kids came over Thursday night. We finally set up that tent that Mike sent them for Christmas. And off they (the Bride, the Costa Rican, Cleopatra and the Wrappie gang) went camping into the living
room (the only room big enough in my house to host the portable shelter). We even busted out the fancy wind up flashlights that Auntie Jan sent 'in case of an emergency' or not because you can always just wind 'em up again! Ani became a grizzly bear perched on the couch-like cliff peering into their thin screened window. The switch-like sun turned off and on enough times for it to have been at least a week long trip. The granola bars were hot dogs roasted over a candle campfire and hot chocolate filled the tea pot which reminded them...TIME OUT!!! Tea party! Then as suddenly as they were sipping tea they were 'beam me up Scottied" to the wilds of the Alaskan mountains...Game on, back to camping. What an adventure! Quyana Mike

Mount Michael
These are the boxes that Mike has so generously been sending us since his departure back in October, though when we receive them they are full. I have not hauled the empties to the dumpster because it is about a 1/2 mile away from the house. The boxes however are now taking over my arctic entry. The big box (which could have been sent by Mike because I am confident that were all the contents he has shipped up north emptied into that box, it would most likely overflow) is actually my brand spankin new freezer from Swanson's! Thank you Principal Eric. See how much use I'm getting out of it!

Gramma's Marathon
Time to get in shape girl. I registered and you can too. Simply click this website fill out the form, get your credit card, pay the money, close your eyes and click REGISTER! Come on, I triple sled dog dare you! That's a #7 Dare Rope Dare! We're talking Biggest Loser challenge here people. Get running! Register for a race. It's officially the middle of January we ALL gotta have stuff to get us through the winter.

My Running Shoes... are gonna get back on the road from their nearly 2 month sabbatical. Ahh, I'm ashamed. But you know what, you can always try again. And that's what I aim to do. Join me.

Our Itinerant Social Worker Peter Needs A Life Guarding Certification
And the district should reimburse him for the course. The wiles of being an itinerant in the Alaskan may think they happen making a jump through heavy cross winds on ricketed old junk plane or maybe being transported miles through polar bear country on snow gos in subzero temps... But oh no, not for our nomadic itinerants, their most precarious moments blindside them on an unsuspecting Friday at 6 am when they are jolted awake in some tucked away closet of the school, from their peaceful slumbers, to navigate a class V rapids on their air mattress!!!! "I just kept repeating to myself PADDLE, PADDLE, PADDLE! You can do this Man! Just keep your head above the water, Look out for the floating books! But it was those old computers flowing by that can really mess you up. Pretty much I knew I was home free once I hit the stairs, the ride down was kinda exhilarating. And that was all before 7 am!" At least that was my take on Peter recounting the story of his shocking/soaking awakening this morning to our flooded school. Apparently a pipe next door to the room he was sleeping in, burst early in those am hours. And as you can see, the room in which the pipe chose to explode was directly above my classroom. I now have an 'ool' in the special ed. room, no running, no diving and no 'p' in it. What made me chuckle and this is for all my LCO friends (Go Eagles) out there.... "Ahem, at LCO we canceled school if there was even potential that a pipe may have leaked, at Quinhagak the pipe bursts, a river runs through it (the school) and we barely have a 2 hour late start. Not to mention no sign of calling off school at any point this week in the throws of these less than tropical temps lately, to boot (literally), we all WALK to school." Sorry you guys, no offense but the idea of it cracked me right up. Our motto today in Quin was: "Shake it off, wipe it up and teach on!!!"

The Hat I've Pulled Apart and Re sewn Many Times Now
Um, I worked on my fur hat tonight....That's it on Dennis.
Notice anything odd?
Remember I advised you to keep your standards low. It's just a tad out of balance, hum, reminds me of someone I am, I mean, I Oh, you just wait, I AM going to wear this hat, if I have to wear it sideways. Which is what might be going on here...

"For as long as Earth lasts,
planting and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, day and night will never stop." Genesis 8:22

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sunshine On My Parka Makes Me Happy

"Goethe's final words: "More light.", that's been our unifying cry: "More light." Sunlight. Torchlight. Candlight. Neon. Incandescent. Lights that banish the darkness from our caves, to illuminate our roads, the insides of our refrigerators. Big floods for the night games at Soldier's field. Little tiny flashlight for those books we read under the covers when we're supposed to be asleep. Light is more than watts and footcandles. Light is metaphor. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom Lead Thou me on! The night is dark, and I am far from home- Lead Thou me on! Arise, shine, for thy light has come. Light is knowledge. Light is life. Light is light."
~Chris Stevens, Northern Exposure

They say it was better than the Fourth of July
Apparently I missed the New Year's Celebration of the century here in Quin.

Shootin out the stars
Just like you've seen in the old westerns...okay maybe not so old I believe I'm thinking of Young Guns the stroke of midnight the otherwise calm, quiet people of Quinhagak stepped out onto their porches armed with an artillary of every kind and shot in the New Year. This sent a few unsuspecting 'early-to bed-new-year-or not-ers' diving to their floors and belly crawling for cover.

Shootin up Eric's house
If you weren't awake for the shoot out then fireworks would have grabbed your attention! It was a sight to behold and the talk of the village even after I arrived. The kids couldn't wait to share about their favorite colors. One little girl was trying to explain what they were, "You know!" she said,"The parachutes we watched on New Year!" Evidently a few renegade dynamites didn't quite make the journey upwards and instead struck out horizontally b-lining for Principal Eric's house. No worries, it didn't make contact but did get a shock and awe effect from the crowd.

Shootin around the village
Another Quinhagak specific tradition on New Year's is to play "Follow the Leader" with vehicles after all the shooting is over. I'm not sure how long this went on for but it was a memorable experience for everyone who joined the parade. The kids excitedly reported that they had drove all around the village from the Arolik River at one end clear to the "Airport/Runway" at the other end! And they even went 45 miles per hour!!!! Picture it: dozens of four wheelers, a few trucks, a car or two and allegedly one rogue snow go, all caravanning around the 15 miles of gravel roads Quinhagak boasts. What fun!

Buzzin' the Gut-Life at 45 MPH
You might wonder why 45 is such a daring speed??? First of all we don't have enough road to dare much else even if we wanted to but I was recently informed (to my chagrin) that the reason for 20 mph cap on our speedy wheelers isn't so much to protect our bones from being 'bumped' as much as it is to prevent our lungs from inhaling things like... ecol i. Logically what I have often referred to as tundra dust, increases in direct relation to our speed. Now remember in Quin we still have honey buckets (as you know) and when you dump those honey buckets into the "honey bucket dumpster" well its not always the cleanliest set up. The contents/overflow dries on the gravel, that gravel dust released into the air from speedy spinning tires kicking it up is quite possibly laced with....well you name it...and so we have a speed limit in Quinhagak...or so I've been told. Think of that next time you're pushing 60 in a 55.

Already it is lighter later
Been enjoying those sunsets lately and cheering on the sun as it fights to hang on for a just few more notable minutes. She's already taking back what the night sky briefly tried to claim. We can all tell, a little bit of light goes a long way:)

The Shift
Another exciting event that has taken place while I was away... drum roll please.... my bedroom door closes completely again. My house appears to have shifted at some point this Christmas break. The rock I've been using to prop my bedroom door shut for the last few months is no longer needed. Here's one for the ever changing tundra foundation.

Sunsets on the Bering while whale watching
Ani and I went for our first evening walk out to the beach last monday night. We expected to see no one and instead saw a crowd gathering. Turned out some of the boys were out whaling and everyone was trying to decide through binocs if they had gotten a whale or if one of the 2 boats was broke down and being towed by the other. The sunset was stunning, visiting with friends while debating a whale was exciting and seeing Fannie with her granddaughters out collecting grass for Fannie's basket weaving was joyful. It was good to be home, doing what for this time makes my heart smile. I believe it just might be a glimpse of what makes God's heart smile to. They did get a whale but they had to camp out on the Bering that night as the tide went out before they got in. They had to wait for its return early the next morning before they could land.

Tea, Tents and Catholic Charities Around a Woodwick Candle
As the bride was promenading through the house in her heavy (free) wedding dress (thanks to Catholic Charities in Bethel) dragging the train along; it reminded me of watching the ginormous yachts try to motor around in tiny circles on the man made reservoirs in Arizona, much like the yachts, by the time the train was straightened out by whoever was playing 'bridesmaid', the bride was running into the wall on the opposite side of the house and had to turn around. Meanwhile flower girl and Costa Rican were trying to put up the tent back in 'Ani's' room. Mike sent it to the kids before Christmas. Cleopatra was preparing a tea party with hot chocolate. And a few donning "wrappies" the kids version of "snuggies" were water color painting with spit. Don't worry once I figured out this gross yet innovative method was taking place I gave them the necessary cups of water. The house was alive and buzzing. To end the evening we lit the Woodwick candle that my little brother's girlfriend gave me for Christmas! We loved it, it sounds like a crackling fire.

Caribou Girls Tracking Party

Today Kim, Jerilyn, their cousin Elizabeth and I bundled up, bunged the 270 (just in case...of what??? you never know), and headed out on their two four wheelers in search of caribou sighting (I think their husbands were skeptical) but we were determined, to have fun at the very least. We chugged along, giggling and stopping for coffee to warm our frozen fingers until we were almost to the mountians!!! It was soooo cold but sooo much fun! That's the first time I've gone that far by land. Quyana to Kim and Jerilyn for inviting me. Then when we decided the caribou sighting was probably a scratch and were about to turn around to head the 2 hours back home, Elizabeth spotted them! 2 herds about 300 yards away or so, we tried to get close to no avail but getting to actually see them was priceless!! We made it back just after dark, and hoped nobody was worried we had been out for about 5 hours!!!

My Newest Project for your viewing entertainment....
Well I've been bugging Dennis (one of our stellar teachers on staff at Quin) for months to teach me how to make a fur hat. He is our resident, math guru, chemist, outdoors man, trapper and mad hatter. Friday night at our semi weekly teacher craft night hosted by none other than Dennis and Marsha, his amazing wife who has helped us girls bead all kinds of creations and has willingly, thankfully and generously taken on the role of mother hen to all of us. They are gems and we are so grateful to have their warm, welcoming spirits here. Anyway I finally wore him down with my constant whining and he helped me get to work at sewing my very first fur hat! Again, keep your standards low because I already managed to sew 2 pieces upside down causing the fur to stick up all crazy (actually that is probably more appropriate for me). Dennis had me rip it apart and start again right side up, there's a great analogy to life in there somewhere, lol. But I'll try to keep ya posted.

Talked to Mom tonight and Gram is doing well! She has been moving her right side more and more with the help of physical therapy. Can lift her right arm up into the air at her elbow! These are great gains! Yay! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you everyone for your prayers.

"By your words I can see where I'm going;
they throw a beam of light on my dark path."
Psalm 119:105