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


  1. Rachel you can totally hunt! There may be only a dozen or so ladies in the village that hunt, but I wouldn't say it is frowned upon. If you want to go, go! I do :)


  2. Thanks Deanna! I'm totally going to:) I was getting a little paranoid and insecure about the whole deal thinking I was missing some unspoken rule or something?? Really I'm probably just asking the wrong people. I'll go by myself and hopefully with my brother, sounds like he might come for Thanksgiving so he'll be up for trekking out and about with me. Hope you guys had fun while you were here.

  3. Hi Rachael, we are at home this Sunday due to icy roads - Black ice. Anyway, would you be able to wrap your pipes with insulation? That's what most do here.

  4. Rachael, Kris again - do you have a lot of sport fishermen and hunters come to Quin? Are there people there who make their living leading fishermen etc? I read the article and it was very interesting. Is your house still tilting? Any hazards?