Monday, November 29, 2010

The Boys Were Back in Town

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
~Jane Howard

That is a very true statement and this is a very quiet night. Too quiet really, the kind of quiet that makes you want to throw up...if quiet can do that. I dropped the last of 'the boys' whom would be my lil bro Joshie, off at the runway today and he promptly flew away back to Anchorage leaving me eerily wondering if anyone had ever been here at all. You know the worst thing about company up here is that they inevitably leave and the void is deafening. Makes me sorta sick to my stomach today missing them or maybe I have a touch of that flu that has been swarming around... at any rate you'll be happy to know I was much braver than the last time earlier this fall. If you recall I spent the whole day sniffling then. Of course it may be due to the fact that today I had to work there was no time to contemplate the impending doom of his leaving and they all 3 didn't leave at the same was staggered. But I'll tell you what their company all week was a blessing. Quyana guys for coming up to our neck of the tundra again. The very fact that the boys did come back again and Mike for a third time, says a lot about this place called Quinhagak and the beautiful Yupik people who inhabit it. It's why I'm here after all, it's why I can stay in this place so far away from my own family and things familiar. It's the welcomed stopping in at Fannie's after church, knowing invading John Teddy's for some music anytime is fine, it's an invitation to steam and laughing with Karen and family, coffee with Jerilyn, a jog down the beach with friends, it's the kids chirping out a greeting wherever you run into's knowing people and being known that makes me feel like this place is home. That is the secret out here on the edge of nowhere, warm hearts-real people. It's the knock, knock, knock on my door of Bobby and Carrie just now at this very minute...
"Can we visit?" their rosy cheeks smile at me hopefully.
"I thought you'd never ask." I breathe a sigh of relief, my company is back.

Attention All Quin Kids!!!

They wasted no time tracking Mike down the minute he stepped off the plane. So the rumors were true "Mike is back!!" News spread faster than salmon swimming out to sea! The bond he has with these kids is inspiring. He's been here 3 times and is somewhat of a legend amid those 12 years of age and under. I have learned that my house will be abuzz the entire time Mike is 'in village' and have embraced it. By the time I get home more than 20 kids have made 3 batches of brownies,drunk several pitchers of juice, put together and taken apart miscellaneous puzzles, coloring books, tea sets you name it and are trying out their latest 'substitute' for the word please which I believe was 'hippopotamus' this time. They are dressed in every costume they can dig up including my winter apparel. And this round Mike had an accomplice, Chris, who elected to be the group jungle gym continually piggy backing one child after another around while dragging the next two in line on each arm. I sneaked through the door (actually I think I had to knock, ahem "Can I visit?") only to behold this gloriously exhilarating chaos. This is it! The moment each child has been anticipating and asking me about since Mike's last appearance back in March "When will Mike visit?" As a matter of fact I think that was the first question posed to me, upon my own return in August. Not 'welcome back Rachel' but "When will Mike visit?" LOL! I imagine myself kind of like the Mom character in "The Cat In The Hat" book. Quick let's tear everything apart before Rachel gets home and tells us "No." It all works out they eventually clean up and trudge out the door longingly looking over their shoulders at us with puppy dog eyes..."Can we visit tomorrow?"

Bopsy Twins Triplets

Josh and Chris waltzed into the school Thanksgiving Feast in their self proclaimed 'standard issued' attire-matching. Yup, it's not just for 2nd graders anymore. Matching outfits are fair game for 30 year old men who view themselves as tundra grade Indiana Joneses! Even Mike joined the uniform albeit inadvertently...all 3 of them strutting around the gymnasium turned cafeteria in duck brown carhartts and army green flannels as if it wasn't a tad bit odd even for the edge of nowhere. Chris brought me one of my very own... though I couldn't bring myself to wear it while they were sporting theirs, thoughtful as it was...I mean I had to live here after they left ;) I'm kidding Chris, quyana I love the shirt...seems to me there has always been something about army green flannels in my life...

Fannie's Smorgasbord
A trip to this side of the Arolik River simply wouldn't be complete without a pop into the Simon residence. It's like going home as I've already alluded to. Fannie's granddaughter is in love with Josh. She calls him Uncle 'Gus' or 'My Gus' short for Gussack (white person in Yupik) it is an endearing term. She hugs him and cries when he leaves. He wouldn't want me to reveal his ultra sensitive side but he loves her too. He had to be sure he stopped to give her the birthday present he brought her from Anchorage after Chris informed him it would be her 3rd bday while they were here. I didn't even know that, Chris got the down low when he spent the day with Fannie while I was at school. While we were there Fannie busted out all her local cuisine: dried white fish, northern, coho, sockeye, seal and caribou. You could say we had an impromptu dried meat tasting. Coho was decidedly the the tastiest, sockeye a close second, then seal...caribou we think is better as a roast or in stew;) Washed it all down with a hefty helping of salmonberry and blackberry akutak (eskimo ice cream). She sent Josh off with a bag of died fish and lamented that she didn't get to see Chris before he left. She decided it was better then she wouldn't have to cry so much. LOL. I agreed. We stopped in at John's so Josh could say hi and bye quick after church last night. John had been looking forward to taking the boys upriver to have at some last minute fishing. Unfortunately with our stranded in Eek episode it didn't work out.

Traci's Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving in Eek was wonderful. Traci, Erin and Dirk took us in like family. Heather opened her apartment to us to use which was wonderful since we were a small herd. It was a feast to be sure complete with all the staples; everything from turkey and stuffing to sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole! We even brought a pumpkin pie that we made here in Quin...that's another story, it was taking forever to bake and I fell asleep while it was still in the oven. Luckily Chris stayed alert for the duration, saved it from being pumpkin crisp and the house from burning down. Anyway back to the Eek was delicious!

Trivial Pursuits And Live Music-Entertainment Eek Style
Every night well.... except the night after Traci tore her calf muscle during an intense game of volleyball 3 on 3 I think that was Saturday night which we were successfully losing; we played Trivial Pursuit and listened to Traci and Dirk strum away on the guitar and ukulele while they sang all kinds of songs.
Reminded me of nights back in Hayward at Madeline's Open Mic Night. Traci actually has a CD out so we pretty much had our own private concert. They are pretty serious about their board games over in Eek. I've never been much of a board game player myself but as they say while in as the Eekers do. Eventually Josh and I ended up on a team all by ourselves out there on display demonstrating for God and everyone our profound lack of trivial knowledge and the pursuit of it. Josh painfully mumbled to himself about midway through," I just don't have room in my brain for all this trivial stuff." I giggled answering, "We don't know," for the 4th time to a question neither one of us understood. We did end up getting 4 pies mostly based on charity;) We watched lots of movies, pigged out on leftovers, wore pjs all day while drinking multiple pots of coffee and strolled around the tundra. Quyana to our fabulous hosts over Eek way! Your gracious hospitality is most appreciated!

Your Location Could Not Be Determined...

Not even Dirk's google earth search could find our position in Eek, Alaska. The above title was what was given in return.

Caribou Dreams-Shattered

The boys (Josh and Chris) really, really wanted go hunting for caribou...and they were determined to take me with them, it's the thought that counts. Sadly the lack of snow and consequent sequestering in Eek prevented any of that from even coming close to happening. O well. Better luck next time;)

Peter (Brett) and the Wolf

Quite possibly the most exciting event that happened in Eek was the Great Wolf Hunt of 2010 that unfolded right before our very eyes. The wolf like creature loped back and forth out by the dump; then it would saunter in toward the dog lot (Principal Brett has a team in Eek too) only to dart off back toward the dump again preventing any clear shots as Principal Brett put it in his cross hairs. Was it a wolf or a wild dog? Whatever the mysterious canine was, it obviously wanted to get close to the sled dogs. Principal Brett was having none of it. Even enlisting a few locals to assist. Together they had it surrounded and we had front row seats peering out the 2nd story windows our noses all squished against the glass "Lemme see, hey move, watch out". We spied with binoculars and gun scopes to get a better view. The boys of course really wanted a piece of the action but alas it was not their hunt, it was not their hunt. They settled to play second fiddle from Heather's picture window vicariously living through Johnny Hawk and Brett as they chased the wolf dog to and fro. In the end we didn't know who won the wolf dog or the hunters. Shots were fired and it disappeared into the tundra while the hunters retreated to their houses. Either way it was a few good hours of entertainment and imagination!

Shout Out To:'s been fun, Adios!

"This is the family tree of the human race.
When God created the human race, he made it godlike,
with a nature akin to God."
Genesis 5:1

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hostage Situation

"Eek doesn't want to return us to Quinhagak,
but we don't think Quinhagak wants us very bad either."
~Josh mulling over our current situation

What began as a funny story to tell you about stranded in Eek has turned to an all out war with the air companies....if only in my mind. But it's hard to deny the facts...yesterday the conditions were perfect for flying but we (Josh and I) were denied 6 times by all 3 of the companies getting on the planes to make the 30 mile flight back home, some garbage about inter village travel being on stand by only (never mind about RESERVATIONS). I was literally on the phone with the agents in the village and the air companies ALL DAY LONG.... to think I was actually feeling bad about being a pest (rest assured I no longer feel that way). Not to mention the 2 times one of the companies simply refused to stop at all to get us (again we had reservations on that flight). Now I'm not naive to the unspoken rules of bush flying which is that there are no real rules. I know 'reservations' basically mean nada when it boils down to it but come on somewhere in there has got to be a principle hasn't there??? It ended with the last winged chariot landing on the Eek runway around 7:00 last night and taking off before the agent even called to tell us it was here! Then in the same breath he informed us that he didn't have any gas in his four wheeler to pick us up anyway. "WHAT???!!!! For Real! Are you serious???," I was stunned, "But we have reservations! We've had reservations for the last 48 hours!!! I've talked to you 10 times today." I futility screeched. This can't be coincidence, it's a conspiracy-we're hostages to Eek, Alaska. I would love to tell you all about our time here and the last week with the boys being back, but I can't leave my perch for too long, I'm on watch for the next possible flight in. We were supposed to be back in Quin Friday, it is now Sunday. Hopefully my next post will be from the Jewel of the Kuskokwim- Quinhagak.

"By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night."
Exodus 13:21

Saturday, November 27, 2010

From Eek, Alaska With Love

Forever on Thanksgiving Day
The heart will find the pathway home.
~Wilbur D. Nesbit

Hello All! We are surviving the post Turkey Day coma from lovely Eek, Alaska. About 30 miles north of Quinhagak, smack dab in the middle of the tundra between Quin and Bethel. A village of about 300. Our original plans were to join my friends and fellow teacher colleagues: Traci, Erin, Dirk (Quyana to you all;) and the rest of the Eek crew for a Thanksgiving Fiesta from Wed to Friday. But as the weather would have it, we (Josh and I ) are currently still in Eek, Alaska awaiting a break in the fog over Quin way. We did manage to get Chris and Mike off this morning on a flight back to Bethel, which was a beautiful stroke of luck since they both had flights to catch today back to Anchorage. Had we been in Quin they'd certainly have missed their connections. It has been a needed and appreciated mini vacation to a neighboring village I haven't been to before. Thanks to Heather for graciously giving us the use of her lovely apartment in the stunning newly built 4-plex teacher housing here in Eek...flushing toilets and all. Anyway there will be more to come on this episode of rural living in AK, but I'll save the details for my next blog. I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving. Grateful for all of your friendships and missing you extraordinarily.
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."
Psalm 107:1

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

"I just thought, well, lots of people do it so I can do it too."
~Elias, Connie's Dad, on building his own house

Mini Vacation to Bethel
Connie and I flew into Bethel in search of preschool ideas this week. Janet, Connie's sister, picked us up at the airport Wednesday night, I was all about catching a cab so as not to burden anybody...which Connie promptly corrected me, "Friends don't let friends take cabs. At least not in my family." Seemed somehow opposite of the rest of the world but I just shrugged and went along with it. No use in trying to challenge my dear friend, that much I know;) We had a big, juicy burger in our sights for supper so Janet brought us to the Tundra Restaurant where our craving was satisfied then she sneakily treated (Quyana Janet). Thursday we had the opportunity to shadow one of Bethel's great special education preschool teachers on (Quyana Cathy). We gathered lots of great resources!
She gave us all kinds of goodies to return with too, a very useful day. It's wild being in Bethel you run into all kinds of people you know. One doesn't have to be in this area very long before you're bumping into familiar faces everywhere you go...might be because there aren't many places to go therefore everyone is in the same places at the time:) It makes me smile.

Mike Is Up!
Back in the north for his 3rd trip. He arrived Friday afternoon, Connie let me use her brother's (Quyana Mike) truck to go pick him up at the airport. The plane was late arriving from Anchorage so I took a little cat nap in the waiting area until he got there. Guess I was sleeping a little harder than intended as I woke up to Mike sitting next to me, "Hi, do you know what time it is?" "What??? How long have you been here?" I groggily asked trying to figure out where I was. "Oh, I just got in," He laughed. Wiping the drool off my face, sleep out of my eyes and and mustering my best belated, "Welcome Back to Bethel" cheer I motioned to the door, "I have a truck." He showed up just in time to catch the first 3 rounds of the wrestling tournament in Bethel. Quin did great! The kids were excited to see him. I had been given the duty of 'film crew', videoing the wrestler's matches. It was entertaining and occasionally challenging when the kids had matches at the same time on two different mats. Camera two. We cheered our hearts out for the Seahawks who as always, did a great job representing our school.

Chris On Deck
Chris is back too, he returned for the 2nd time on Saturday morning. Erin retrieved him at the airport (Quyana Erin) while back at Connie's parents we were playing hairdresser. Connie was the victim;)
When I grow up I want to be a hair stylist so with Elias' quote from above as my slogan I somehow convinced Connie to let me practice on her. Elias, Connie's dad, (who reminds me so much of my Grampa Skime I just want to hug him every time he talks) invited us in to visit. He laughs, gives good advice and calls me Rebecca, which Connie assures me is a compliment since he calls all his 10 daughters by each others names and not their own. He shared all kinds of stories about when he was young, hauling wood by dog sled, building his house and friends he has all over the world, incredible really. Bernie, Connie's mom, would chime in as he told stories, dishing us helpings of moose stew and homemade pumpkin pie and providing the scissors for me to open the impromptu salon;) It was like being at home. You really need that once in a while you know, to feel like you are with family. Walking into their cozy home, smelling coffee and hearing the Captain (Elias is the Honorary Port of Bethel Captain) greet us with a hardy 'Hello There', just makes ya wanna pull up a chair or curl up on the couch and listen. Once Chris arrived, we headed to the Saturday Market. All kinds of goods were displayed seal skin hats, knitted booties, ivory earrings, beaver pelts, Kuskokwim 300 sweatshirts, t shirt, homemade food, cards, candy, dolls, parkas you name it. We did some shopping. It worked out pretty great that Mike and Chris flew in while we were in Bethel.

Josh Is In the Hole
Josh is having fun flying stand by. He is/was supposed to be here Sunday, Monday or maybe Tuesday. So I'll have a house full for this week, Thank You Lord! We are invited to my friend Traci's over in Eek for Thanksgiving so that is the weather permitting plan. Speaking of, it was quite a miracle that we all made it in from Bethel tonight.

Wind and Rain on the Tundra
It was really reminding me of this time last year actually. We had snow and frozen ground Friday then bizarrely the mercury spiked. Everything is melting and the wind is blowing like crazy. We left Anya's who graciously let us stay in her apt while she was gone (Quyana Anya) and taxied out to the airport. Rain was blowing and I was quite confident we wouldn't be going anywhere. However the pilot searched us out as we were gabbing away above Grant Air in the Bethel Bean over coffee and pecan bars, paying no attention to the time factor. The pilot stepped into the little cafe..."3 for Quinhagak?" Opps, we scrambled around gathering our gear, "We're leaving already???" In moments we were 300 feet above the last of the tree spattered tundra of Bethel and making the bumpy, swerve-y, low ride back to Quin. Won't say I wasn't thrilled to see the runway lights in the distance of our little coastal home.

The Latest in Bethel
There is a brand new drive thru in Bethel!
Might be the only one Bethel has ever had. That's right it ain't no coffee shop anymore it's an honest to goodness drive thru. Of course we had to check it out for ourselves, Erin 'drove us thru' in her truck. Did I mention that Erin also drug Mike and I out on a 3 mile run Saturday night on the icy roads in the pouring rain? We survived and I suppose she owed me from the beach run with the bears earlier this fall.

"The words of the wise prod us to live well. They're like nails hammered home, holding life together. They are given by God, the one Shepherd."
Ecclesiastes 12:11

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Don't Let The Bed Bugs Bite!

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Blasted Sink froze again for the first time this winter last week. Ugh...and it begins. Really I know I shouldn't complain as I'm lucky to have running water at all. But... my sink incessantly drips, therefore if I forget (which I do) to put a container of some sort under the drip, the pipes freeze. There is leaking all over my cupboard under the sink which is often frozen as well. I wore out the space heater Principal Eric gave me last year repeatedly creating a the fire hazard/electrical nightmare that thawed the frozen waterway. I will need to purchase a new 'defroster' for the coming winter. Also on this side of the teacher housing on Sewage Lagoon Road we are anticipating the return of the great skating rink that forms from all of our gray water draining directly out under our stilted houses onto the ground. Eventually after enough laundry, showers and loads of dishes have been done and taken, the remnants converge into one long sheet of ice connecting us like a ice road trucker highway. Many a person (myself included) has found themselves unexpectedly staring at the sky.

Quinhagak vs. Quinhagak
Wrestlers and Volleyballers Went Head to Head in a Fundraising Frenzy
That's right Tim and Steph had dueling bake sales this Friday the first Annual Wresting Exhibition and Volleyball Scrimmage. Steph raced to set up her table at the front door nabbing everyone when they walked in while Tim staked his claim on the gymnasium where the events were held. Not sure who bought in more dough but I can tell you we all had more than our fair share of sugar. Since we had to cancel our wrestling tournament a few weeks ago Tim arranged a mini tournament where the wrestlers competed against each other for a bleacher full of eager local fans. It was a hit Quinhagak won every match;) Then Steph arranged for the volleyball team to scrimmage the 'teachers' or anyone in the crowd who was willing to have a go at beating the Seahawks. We named ourselves "Better Than the Seahawks" and that apparently fueled their competitive spirit as they slaughtered us 3 matches to nada. It was good fun.

My Forest
is filling up with decorations of luggage tags from miscellaneous flights back and forth to Bethel. It is quite the conversation piece. The kids are continually informing me that 'It's not Christmas yet. You can't have your tree up yet.' "Who said that?" I answer. "Again, this is not just a Christmas Tree. In typical village style it has multiple's a lamp, it's a forest, mostly it just reminds me of home and makes me smile. And yes, round about December 1st it will also be a Christmas Tree;)"

My New Favorite Spot in the stilted trailer. I did finally get around to painting my arctic entry door turquoise to match the clock that I purchased this summer. It's now my favorite spot.

Sharing Cookie Dough
With Friends
Knock on the door a few nights ago to Jeremy and Justin. I just so happened to be making cookies for the fundraiser frenzy. Their impeccable timing however put them right in the kitchen while the cookies were going on the pan. "Want some dough?" I asked knowing it's the best part and remembering back when mom would make cookies and how much I just wanted to eat the dough. Not bake them, in my opinion cookie dough is way better than the cookie itself. I remember thinking, 'When I grow up I'm going to just make cookie dough and eat it. Nobody will be able to wreck it by making me cook it.' Unfortunately you can't sell cookies in the dough form (at least I've never seen it done, besides in the refrigerator section at grocery stores). So I was forced to bake them for the sale but Jeremy and Justin got to try a dollop before the perfectly good dough went into the inferno. Both boys agreed with me. Dough is definitely better, it's unanimous. Quickly it was time for them to head home. They thanked me for enlightening them on the deliciousness of cookie dough and were off into the the cold night. No sooner had I shut the door than I heard them thundering back up the steps, pounding and screaming at the door! "LET US IN!!! THERE'S A FOX!" Evidently as the boys were walking down the steps they noticed a fox right by Ani's dog house. We armed ourselves with bear spray and a spear then charged out the door ready to slay the could be rabid fox. Instead we found Ali walking her 2 dogs. We warned her, scanned the perimeter and turned up nothing. The fox was gone, lucky for him. Chances are Dennis' trapping class will have him skinned and dried in no time.

P90 X Going Strong after Week 1! Connie and I are sore. We've been working out like crazy. We took today off and walked out to the beach in a snowstorm yesterday. On one of our walks we spied a fogbow again and I tried to get a picture for ya.

Who Knew
my main mode of transportation would be a school bus after age 12...I mused to myself as my fellow teachers loaded on the monster truck sized lifted tundra version of the magic school bus the other morning. I confess I use a few of my old rock climbing moves to scale the driver's side door frame into the seat, that's one big step up! Once situated though and verifying that all passengers are seated as well we are ready for the long 3/4 mile ride to school. Everything's in working order minus the driver's side windshield wiper which wigged out on me a few weeks ago and has yet to be addressed (ahem, Principal Eric). I drop off the first load pick up Connie and off we drive into the dark morning honking around the village retrieving our precious cargo. This a very important part of the day after all it is the very first greeting our students have. It gives them their start. It must be serious as I remember all my bus drivers from grade school. There was Delbert, then Kathy and Tom. I always liked my bus drivers. You just never know what wild adventures your future might hold. Exciting things like bus driving for instance, amazing things you don't even know about yet. My Advice? Be ready:)

Caribou are on the move and the guys are filling tags. Jon offered me a leg. Apparently he and Ali were given one the other day. You betcha I replied, caribou stew. Did you notice I used the word 'guys' are filling tags. Yep. I don't know if it's all of Alaska, just in this region, maybe just in Quinhagak or maybe it's just me, at any rate the atmosphere is very unlike where I was raised downstates midwest (much like so many things that vary from place to place and life familiar), it appears to be really not so okay for girls to hunt. I was raised hunting with my Dad, brothers, cousins, friends many of which were girls. Nobody ever blinked an eye at any of us (girls) hunting. Grew up in and out of deer stands, up and down trails, to hunting shacks and even sat in the RV when dad parked it out on the back pasture one year, lol hunting in style. It's just supposed to be happening this time of year, something we all look forward to. I was told how great the hunting out here was when I moved. It was however left out that it would be highly unlikely that I would actually have an opportunity to go. Last year I didn't have my residence and knew I wouldn't be going. This year I have a tag but am realizing it may well take a small miracle to fill it. I could go easily enough if I had my own snow go or four wheeler but I don't so it is ultimately my own fault. Dennis, bless his heart did agree to take me if he went last weekend. That was after begging and getting Marsha to talk him into it (thank you Marsha;) He didn't end up going unfortunately. I'd pay for gas if they'd just take me along pretty please- inviting myself. I'd clean my own caribou. I'm pretty sure I could figure it out, I'd try not to be a bother. Despite the humiliating grovelling there has been a very obvious un-invitation, for whatever reason. Anyway feeling much like the kid on the playground left out of the game I proceeded to have a full on tantrum,"I want my DAD!" In our discussion he'd reminded me it's not like this everywhere and that yes, there will be plenty of deer waiting at home and yes, there will be another deer season and yes, he and my brother wish I was there hunting with them and no, the guys here probably don't have room for me and no, the guys don't want me there and no, I don't have a snow go so I am in fact out of luck. Then he took me on a play by play about where they've been hunting back home, how the trees look, the crackling of the leaves, the crunching of the snow, dawn and dusk, cold fingers and toes and getting nothing, "It's okay Rach, You're not missing anything." "Yep," is all I could sniffle. He reminded me of one of my first times hunting at Gram and Grampa's farm with him when I couldn't look through the scope of the gun and out the window of the stand at the same time because I wasn't tall enough. I remembered him laughing at me because all I could see was the dark of the sky and kept telling him the scope didn't work. It made me laugh too. He told me about how many deer they've seen, who's got what. Guess I'm just homesick for it, maybe for everything and having a pity party, that's what my drama is all about here so just ignore this. As another friend put it to me rather frankly, "You got yourself to the tundra so quit your whining, pull up your big girl pants, strap on the skis, grab the gun and go hunting already." You know I think that actually sounds kinda fun. See, I'm getting over myself already.

My Dress Measurements...a classroom affair.
A dear friend of mine is getting married this summer! I have been blessed with the honor of being part of her special day. This of course requires one's measurements. I hadn't gotten around to getting mine and kept forgetting to have someone to take the for me. In a stroke of genius the other day as the students were running around Ali's classroom measuring everything they could find as part of their math lesson, I seized the opportunity and the measuring tape...latest numbers are in. Wedding number...(honestly not sure I can remember) times a bridesmaid on the horizon, is a go;)

There is a bit of uneasiness a mist staff recently. Everyone has been sneakily scanning children for any subtle (okay maybe not so subtle) itching or scratching, rumor has it there are... Bed Bugs on the loose. Whether we have them here in Quin still remains to be declared, but we've heard strange stories from faraway places (Anchorage) that there are infestations. Nothing diagnosed yet but that hasn't deterred some people's unfounded fear from running rampant. Go ahead scratch, I know you're itching now;)

Went out ski joring tonight, first jor of the year. Sherry took Ozone and Chinook, Steph took Marley and Bela and I harnessed up Ani and Lefse. It was a beautiful evening and the dogs pulled like champs. I did see my life flash before my eyes the first 5 minutes when the dogs take off flying along the snow go path pell mell. Exhilarating and death defying at the same time oddly comparable to strapping yourself to a runaway truck, at least until they wear themselves out a little so the joree being dragged behind at their mercy has some semblance of control. Initially I just try to stay upright and hang on for dear life. Eventually they find an easy cadence and listen to commands.

Milt's Take on Quin. The following is a great perspective by a former teacher here in Quinhagak. I found it on the school website and thought I'd share. Just click on the following.
"The Jewel of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta"

Congrats to Sherry recently nominated as the newest Head Start Parent Rep and Policy Person;)

"He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, and gnats throughout their country."
Psalm 105:31

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

It is easy to take liberty for granted,
when you have never had it taken from you.
~Author unknown, sometimes attributed to M. Grundler

honor \Hon"or\, n. [Written also honour.] 1. Esteem due or paid to
worth; high estimation; respect; consideration; reverence; veneration;
manifestation of respect or reverence.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as "the Great War." Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.

Both of my Grampas
4 of my Uncles
4 of my Cousins

At our own Quinhagak School

Our Kindergarten Teacher - Emma
Our Intensive Aide - John Teddy
Our Intensive Aide - Adam
At Our Head Start - Matilda

Quyanaqvaa. Thank you.

It could never be enough, but it is offered with a deepest sense of gratitude.

Thank You, To ALL Veterans.

"...They were all courageous warriors..." 2 Corinthians 14:8

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Familiar 'WOT' of Snow Gos

If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand
WOT..........tap brake...........WOT
~Online Somewhere

Been Falling Asleep to the 'WOT' (seriously a great interpretation of how they sound) of snow gos zipping across the tundra. Snow is back and decidedly sufficient for everyone to be firing up their sleds around here. It causes a distinct change of sound in the traffic out my window from the low rumble of 4 wheelers to the shrill scream of tracks and skis.

Finishing the Beaver Lynx Hat back by popular demand
Well, Friday night at Dennis and Marsha's we dined on Marsha's yummy homemade pizza then I sneakily brought out the infamous fur hat! Currently still unfinished from last year's attempts. I think we had pulled it apart 6 or 7 times last year and finally tossed it in a bag and call it to be continued... So like I said Friday night we started sewing it together again. The last of the 'hat' parts became one entire piece by 10 pm. Next Friday I think Dennis said it's time for the liner...wooooo whoooo I'm gonna have a toasty warm hat for the incoming deep freeze:) Thanks to Dennis' patience;)

Notice: Hut Vacancy on the Kanektok
And Meet the Cleavers, I mean Beavers. Dennis' (temporary) decorative arrangement of his latest trapping successes. Now you don't see yard ornaments like this everyday, unless of course you live in Quinhagak, Alaska. Yet another little perk;)

We're Just Sitting Round Here Waitin on Airplanes to Finally LAND
Was running kids and coaches back and forth to the airport Friday afternoon as we had wrestlers going to Bethel (where I heard they placed 3rd! Go Seahawks) and volleyball going to Good News. On our last group we sat out at the runway for 30 minutes with no sight of an incoming 207. Finally we called the air company to inquire about the delay. They had just left Bethel and were still another 40 minutes out.
This is not abnormal as estimated times of arrival and departure amongst these small intervillage air companies are really mere suggestions or ideas not to be taken literally. It's kosher and we took the opportunity to tour around for a bit before making that last sweep back out to the 'new airport'. We drove down to the 'old airport' that has been eroding into the Kanektok hence the change in 'airport' locations and watched the still open river rush by. One of the girls showed us the old rotted out carcass of a bear that was covered up by snow. Interesting, eh?

You've got mail...from the 1st grade

I wrote back a couple times and now I have mass delivery from Steph's 1st and 2nd graders. They tell me all kinds of things like: 'The car is fast.' 'The cat is big.' 'My dog is litl.' And my new favorite: 'Im vry cool an amazing an colest!' It's so good to see them have such a healthy self image at such a young age;)

Walking Across the Tundra Again

We went on many walks this weekend. The sun was out, the ice is in and there was a fogbow overhead. Beautiful!
November 2
Did you vote???? We did. The bingo hall was open for ballots again. Up here in Alaska we had a pretty hot debate between two republicans, the incumbent actually (Write In) candidate Lisa Mur-kow-ski and the new Joe Miller. Not sure if they even know who the winner is yet. The rural vote will decide.

Shout Out to the Boss: Happy Birthday last Friday Principal Eric!

"May the Master of Peace himself give you the gift of getting along with each other at all times, in all ways. May the Master be truly among you!" 2 Thessalonians 3:16