Saturday, December 30, 2006

Dispatch from the Not-Quite-As-North

Yes, I realize it's been almost a month since I've posted...but let me explain. I was really busy those last few days before I left for Wisconsin and the holidays, and then once I was home I got to be a different kind of busy...a good kind, for sure, but still not very conducive to getting online and blogging up a storm. But just so I feel caught up, let me hit a couple points:

- Basketball became a little frustrating before I left, but thankfully I have help...both in the form of a "real" coach basically taking over for me, and my lovely fiancee helping out and shouldering a bunch of the responsibility while I was gone...responsibility she never signed up for in the first place. Thanks, yo.

- NYO trip I helped chaperone was pretty fun. I've got pics and stuff that I'll probably post sometime after I get back.

- I know it's going to bite me in the ass on the return trip for saying this, but travel went very smoothly on my way back to Wisconsin, despite all the extra stuff and scheduled detours I had to make. I hope it goes half as well and on time on the way home.

- Xmas break has been fun so far at home...stories and pictures to come, I assure you.

BUT, here's the real reason I was reminded to post here today...a link from the Anchorage Daily News that caught my eye:

Yeah, that's the trail we ride to Bethel from Nunap. Makes me think about bringing up one of the pistols, you know? Not seriously, but it's making its way across my mind, that's for sure. Or at least carrying something along when we ride. I mean, its not like they're just mugging people and taking their stuff. They're killing and trying to kill people. What the heck, man?

Anyways, just saw that and thought it was worth posting. Can't promise it'll be before I get back to AK, but I will be posting again until then, happy new year!!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Today's weather forecast

Just to illustrate why traveling is so hit or miss around here this time of year...

Friday, December 8, 2006

Lots going on

Just wanted to drop a quick note to say yes, there will be a blog entry or two coming up happenings, N.Y.O. happenings (I'm currently...and Kwethluk helping with the team), and various travel happenings. But for the time being, enjoy a post left by a fellow teacher here...and fellow regards to potentially making some "social" plans for over Christmas break:

Friday, Dec 8, 6:23:19 pm
Peter Fee

I get the Point Shaun. I hope to get some elbow room the night of the the 23rd. Maybe we can stop and see Joe and visit that dairy brick house and watch a little Buffy, sound friendly enough? Of course there's always--who was your old partner again--Stanley? Plus, it is essential to wear a top hat at Clark's place. Frank and Ernie are always home too, however, beware of their mad dog--is it still alive? Last, we need to visit Joe the Italian out at the central water train junction. The holidays are exhausting--after all the visitation of friends and family--it will be good to return home to Nunap.


Monday, December 4, 2006

Our new

Check out that sweet, sweet ride.

That's right, a 500. Muhahahaha. Don't worry Mom and Dad, it's just for hauling us both around and towing, that sort of thing.

Yup, electric start, reverse, grip warmers, thumb warmers...all kinds of fancy schmancy buttons and switches. Still getting used to these new-fangled sleds...only ones I ever rode were *ahem* older models.

Saturday, December 2, 2006


That's how many miles the trail is from the AC store in Bethel to our house in Nunap. How do I know this with such precision, you ask? Well there can only be one answer to that question...we got our snowmachine! Oh glorious day!!!

We had been kinda-sorta planning on flying into Bethel today to pick it up, but our neighbor and superstar-teacher Eric called at noon yesterday and told me that with the weather being so nice, he and Kenny had decided to ride in that afternoon, and suggested I call and see if there were any flights I could still get on in the afternoon so I could get the machine and meet up with them to ride back. I called around and had no luck, at which thought I figured it just might not be meant to be. Then, he suggested that it might be possible to borrow someone else's machine, and if Sara and I both rode in, one of us could bring it back while the other rode ours...common sense, of course, but the thought hadn't crossed my mind. Would anyone let me drive their snowgo to Bethel and back? And could Sara get out of work for the afternoon? All I could do was ask.

So with Eric warming up his machine for himself and Kenny, I ran up to school to see if we could figure out a plan. Sara was in a class, which I rudely interrupted, and she was down with taking off and riding in. So now a ride. She had happened to be in Carey's class at the time, so we asked if we might be able to borrow her sweet, sweet Ski-Doo...and she graciously let us (thank you, thank you, thank you!!!)

With that, and after gathering a few things and bundling up, we were on our way. Eric with Kenny in the lead, and Sara and I following. The trail is pretty well defined, and a bunch of the markers are up, but I'm really glad I had someone to follow. Riding the trails here isn't exactly like trails back home, with maybe a mile or two between bars and roads and houses all along the way. 8 miles or so out from Nunap you go by Atmau, but other than that there's nothing until you get to Bethel. Other than that, it's a pretty nice ride. Not too bumpy at all, no major obstacles, only a few tricky banks to go up or down when going on to or off of water. Snow conditions could have been a little better...the snow from last weekend's big snowstorm had been turning to slush during our 30 degree days this week, refreezing overnight, and leaving a lot of packed ice on the trails. Being the uber-rookie snowgo driver, I just followed Eric whenever he went a little ways off the trail into the fresh snow to be a little nicer to the skis and treads.

So, an hour and a half or so later, we were on the outskirts of Bethel. Eric and Kenny's real purpose for the trip was to head down past Bethel to Kenny's old village, Napaskiak, to get his snowmachine, so it was time to split up. Mind you, I've been to Bethel a grand total of three times, two of which were just flying through, and neither Sara or I have no idea where to go or how to get there by snowgo. But, we could see where the airport was, and with some pointing in the direction of the correct trail from Kenny, we just headed that way and played it by ear, agreeing to meet Eric and Kenny at the AC store whenever they got back from Napaskiak.

All was fine, we followed the trail to the highway, which we crossed after a little confusion, and finally got ourselves to the airport. Now, I don't know if I've ever explained the Bethel airport here or not, but here's the problem. It's basically a long strip of hangars and terminal buildings for individual little charter and air cargo services, all lined up along the side of a runway long enough for a large jet to land. All we knew about the location of "Everets Air Cargo", where our machine was located, was that it was at the airport. Somewhere. So we started along, riding on the side of the road, looking for a sign saying Everets. Just a building or two in, and we were at Grant Aviation, which I knew from Sara's stories was pretty cool and usually very helpful, so I stopped and asked if she wanted to go in and see if she could find out where exactly Everets was. She did, and when she got back the directions were shaky at best. "The other end" was basically the jist, so we headed down the road expecting to eventually run into it. Until we got to JP Air (and brats...yeah, it's on the sign), which is basically the end of the row. Confused, I went in and asked for directions. And then drove around for a while. And came back to JP. And drove around again, the same direction, but a little farther, at which point we found Everets and got our sled. (Note: Yes, I said sled. For you upper-Midwestern folk, you know what I'm talking about. It's slang for snowmobile. Here, I've slipped and said "sled" a few times and people have just looked at me funny. Probably because here, people often tow actual sleds behind their machines, hence it not really making sense to use the same colloquialism. Even "snowmobile" isn't used here. It's snowmachine. Or snowgo.)

So, half the battle was won - we found our sled at the airport. Now for the other half of the battle...getting into Bethel proper and finding the AC store to meet up with the guys. So we backtracked to where we had split up before, and headed towards town in the other direction, simply aiming for what looked to be a commercial part of town. Not that there's that much of Bethel to choose from, but still. Anyways, I soon saw what I thought I remembered to be the slanted roof line of the store, having passed it in a cab a couple times, and we made it there having to travel only a couple of blocks on the side of a fairly busy road. After about an hour or so, Eric and Kenny got back from their extended trek, I picked up some coolant and oil, and we got on our way. We had originally hoped to get back before dark (maybe an optimistic goal, considering the limited amount of daylight available this time of year), but the sun was well set before we left the AC parking lot. No matter, there were four snowmachines now, meaning plenty of headlights, and with Eric leading the way we made the haul back just fine, and no worse for the wear.

And with that, we have our smowmachine. It's pretty darn sweet, if I do say so myself. It's a 2000, but it's in great shape, and it just rolled over 1000 miles on the way back last night. Not to mention, I could definitely tell the difference right away driving the 500 compared to Carey's 380 on the way there. Lots more "getup", if you know what I mean. No pictures yet, unfortunately. But I'll be playing around with it this afternoon, and I have to go get gas and stuff, so I'm sure I'll have pretty pics to post tonight or tomorrow.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tape Delay

Well, what can I say? I've been slacking off. We'll see how much I can remember from the past week and a half that I haven't blogged...

First off, as you can see to the left, the weather has gotten considerably colder lately. The river right by the village has frozen down a foot or more, and this is a picture of Sara and Loki from Saturday, when we went for a bit of a walk on the ice. Loki had a great time, but he's a little frustrated when he tries to pull us on the ice and can't get any grip. Poor Loki.

I should mention that part of the reason I've been postponing blogging for a little while is something that happened last weekend that I knew I'd have to mention. I won't go into too much detail, but a young man from the village went through the ice on the river with his snowmobile, and needless to say it's been a pretty sad situation. This also means our machine is still in Bethel, waiting for assurance that the trail is indeed safe. Most of the backwaters and stretches have a ton of ice, but there are sections that are thin or even open water, and while I have been out fishing once, I don't think I'd feel safe going out on my own without knowing where the trouble spots are.

But on the lighter side, Thanksgiving was a lot of fun. A bunch of the teachers (all who didn't go out of town, and even some that were planning on leaving but didn't get out because of weather) got together and had an amazing dinner and kinda-sorta party. Sara and I made a soup, a pie (from scratch...and the berry filling didn't quite set in time, which was disappointing), and some cookies. Regular Betty Crockers, we.

Let's see, what else? Well, basketball practice started this week, which is cool. I'm about 50% excited and 50% scared, so we'll see how it goes. Unfortunately, when the schedule came out, I realized that the first games are the weekend *after* I leave for Christmas break. D'oh. So hopefully we'll be able to find someone to take over for me that weekend. It shouldn't be too much of a problem, I'm thinking, since there's 4 girls from a nearby village that didn't have enough for a whole team there, and will joining our team for practices and games whenever they can get a ride over. Hopefully there's someone from over there that can handle coaching the games. But yeah, we'll see.

See, I know I had more I wanted to blog about, but I can't remember what at the moment. Oh, I had a couple more pics and a video of Loki playing in our first big snowstorm this weekend, but I gave them to Sara to post on her go on over there and check them out! And I promise there will be more frequent post over the next couple weeks before I head back to WI for the holidays...I promise!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Snow-go a-go-go

Just wanted to drop in a picture of the new parking lot that has sprouted in front of school. Admittedly, this shot was taken after 5:30 tonight, so there aren't as many sleds as there were mid-day, and as such isn't quite as impressive. Oh well, you'll just have to deal. I will say, though, it is quite nice now that the tundra has frozen, to be able to walk in straight lines around the village, not having to follow boardwalks. So huzzah for the frozen tundra. The real kind, not the Lambeau kind. Although that kind is good, too.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Not totally sure how it happened, but apparently I'm now the girls high school basketball coach.

Okay, to be honest, I know how it happened...I asked if they needed help and was met with a resounding "yes!" there you go. Things moved kinda quickly. Luckily, I have a couple weeks to get ready, both plan-wise and mentally.

*off to summon my inner Dick Vitale...or maybe Bobby Knight, as the case may be*

Sunday, November 12, 2006

In like a Lion

Does that count for just March? Or can I apply it to winter in general?

After, oh, about two straight months of late-fall type weather...lower 40s, overcast, cold and rainy...winter decided to finally show up last week. And show up with a vengeance. The picture on the left was taken by Sara last weekend...the river was starting to freeze, and everyone was getting their boats out of the water. I helped pull a couple out, including the school boat. Then, school was called off Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on account of not enough students being in class because the river was too frozen for boats but not frozen enough yet to walk across. This weekend, there are people snowmobiling across and icefishing. This week, it's supposed to get down below zero at night, and we're (finally) supposed to get some real snow. Hopefully our snowmobile comes soon so we can get out and play in it!

So I subbed again last week, which was nice. The week was all screwy because of the non-days, so everything was a mess. Kids were kinda wacky on Thursday as well. Now this week, the school starts "extended day", which means I get to actually work every day, at least for an hour, helping with that. I'm honestly pretty excited just to have something to do on a daily basis, even just for an hour. You know?

Not too much else going on at the moment. Having a hard time believing Thanksgiving's almost here and in a month I'll be headed home for permitting, of course.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Did you?

One cool thing about voting in Alaska...much better stickers! :-)

More later on freeze-up and the like, but as you can probably understand, my focus today is on my other blog, what with the election results and all...


Friday, November 3, 2006

Friday Night (gym) Lights and Winter Transportation

Well hello there! Seems like all kinds of fun things are happening around these parts, but I've been too lazy or otherwise preoccupied to be blogging about them. Sorry about that.

Anyways, this is the second Friday night in a row we've been in at school to watch students doing extracurricular-type things, and both have been quite interesting so far. Last Friday the Yup'ik dance group put on a performance, and having never seen anything like it in person, I was really impressed. Seeing kids I know and that I wouldn't expect to see taking part in something like this going out there and dancing up a storm is really pretty cool. If you're wondering about the masks, yes they were doing the halloween thing.

The only thing I think I would have liked better would to have been to have a program or some explanation of what all the dances and songs was all fascinating, and you could tell there were some pretty intense stories behind the dancing (and considering the vast majority of people in the audience were locals and no doubt knew what was going on, I understand), but I think I would have gotten even more out of it had I known what the songs were about. I know, I know...I should just buck up and learn Yup'ik. But I'm really no good with languages. Seriously, ask my old Polish professor...I just about drove him crazy.

Anyways, so that was last Friday. This weekend there is an N.Y.O. (Native Youth Olympics) meet here at Nunap. Just like with the wrestling meet a few weeks back, teams have flown in from all over to compete, and from what I've seen so far (okay, I've only seen the wrist carry at the moment, but it was pretty intense) it's really interesting. One thing I've noticed with the events matter what it is, most of the kids and teenagers turn out to support it. I suppose it could be (and likely is) due to the fact that there's literally nothing else going on here on a Friday night, but I'd like to think it's because the sense of community is strong enough that everyone, even the "cool kids", want to come out and take part in activities, whether sporting, cultural, or otherwise. I don't know, it just struck me while watching the dance performance last weekend and seeing a bunch of the teens there, that I couldn't imagine, say, a community polka dance at my old high school drawing all the high school seniors back to school on a Friday night. But hey, that's just me.

But, enough with the editorializing, here's a couple videos of what I'm talking about, if you're at all interested:

Yup'ik Dance Video - from 10/27/06

N.Y.O. Wrist Carry - from 11/3/06

Oh, and the other big news, I almost forgot...we bought a snowmachine (or "snowmobile", for you lower 48 folk ;-) ) this week! Called about a used sled we saw for sale on the website of a company in Anchorage, and the next day Sara ended up talking to the guy for a while and finding out that they had just gotten another in, with substantially fewer miles and in better shape. So, we currently have a 2000 Ski-Doo getting a good going-over by their shop guys that will soon be air-freighted to Bethel, where we will fly/ride in whenever conditions get good enough to ride back the 30ish miles to the village! Huzzah!!!

Don't worry, pictures of and many adventures with the sled are certainly coming soon...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hey, lookie there

It snowed yesterday! I guess it doesn't seem particularly early for snow, considering it's already been snowing back in Wisconsin, and I do remember a few "white Halloweens" from my childhood. What is starting to feel a little strange is how short the days are getting. We're losing arond 5 minutes of daylight a day, and the sun's coming up around 10am and setting around 7pm. It's stange to wake up after Sara's already left for work, and have it still pitch dark outside. Though it is nice not to have it still light out at 10:30 or 11 at night. Makes it hard to get to bed at a decent hour, that's for sure.

Anyways, just wanted to post a picture of the snow :-)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Moderately productive, as weekends go

I'm in at school, playing online while Sara does her Sunday evening lesson planning, so here are a few pictures from this weekend as long as I have a couple minutes...

Christina and Carey were both in Bethel Friday night, so we had Bailey over for a little bit of dogsitting/playtime with Loki. This shot just happened to catch them in a fairly, um, playful moment. They look downright evil, don't they? I think it's the red background. But don't worry, they're still friends...

See, I told you...still buddies. So they hung out and wrestled and slobbered on one another most of the night. A little the next day as well. As for Sara and I, we were on call to help pick people up from the airport. Which was good, because I had yet to really drive the school boat (mostly because I'm a chicken, and have far, far too little experience driving boats considering where I was born and raised), and this was the necessary push I needed to get me comfortable behind the wheel of the thing.

See? That's me, driving. Not a big deal, I know. But I got over that little hump of actually *doing it*, you know? And you know what? Pretty easy. And fun, too.

Oh, and we finally built shelves yesterday, too. No pictures of them yet ('cuz really, how interesting is that? Just shelves on a wall), but they turned out pretty nicely, if I do say so myself. We had gotten the materials in Bethel way back when and had been basically waiting to get up the motivation to get into the woodshop and get them done, and for some reason inspiration struck Saturday. Now that they're done, I'm looking for a new project already...thinking about turning an old door that's just sitting off its hinges in out apartment into a table...or an island in the kitchen...or into fold-up counter space....or we'll see ;-)

And oh, before I forget, I have a link to post, too. Here's a story I found linked on Drudge from the L.A. Times, regarding the possibilities of bird flu migrating from Asia into Alaska through the villages in this area of the state. Interesting stuff, but mostly I'm posting it because it's a national article about this area, with pictures and descriptions done by, you know, an actual, professional writer-type person.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Takedowns and tickets

Well, hello there. How's it going? Yes, I know it's been over a week. Sorry 'bout that. Let's see, what's been up lately?

Well, first let me explain this picture you see to the left. Last weekend Nunapitchuk hosted a wrestling tournament. Very cool. Wrestlers and their coaches flew in from various villages (and Bethel, of course) for the two-day event, stayed in classrooms at the school, had a good time, and...oh yeah...wrestled. Now, I've never been a huge fan of wrestling. Unless you count the period of time back when I was, oh, in elementary school, when my brother and I watched professional wrestling (ah, the glory days of the Junkyard Dog and the Bushwackers). But anyways, yeah, honest-to-goodness wrestling never appealed to me. Maybe it was the unitards, maybe the sweaty, groping dudes. I don't know. But in the short time I was there on Saturday afternoon watching the kids' matches, I have to say...very cool. It was neat to see some of the kids who are, how shall I put this...not the most behaved, engaged students...really doing something they enjoy, being intense, caring about something. I dunno, I might put sports on a slightly higher plane than some, but to me it's about more than phy-ed and an excuse to travel on weekends, you know? Plus, watching matches that I actually cared about (considering I knew some of the kids from subbing), I was able to really get into them, and as such started to understand the rules and the scoring, etc. More interesting sport then I previously thought, I'll give it that.

Anyways, another reason it was cool was that it brought a lot of people in to town that Sara hadn't seen in a while, and others we had seen recently but that it's always good to see. Some of the wrestlers from Quinhagak (the village she was in the last 2 years) were students of hers, so she got to see them again, which I know she enjoyed. Huzzah.

Let's see, what else? Oh, we got our tickets mostly taken care of for getting back to Wisconsin for the holidays. It's going to be an adventure, of course...but it always is, I guess, so at least we know what to expect. I'll be flying back a little early with the dog, to save both a little cash and a little headache that would ensue with both of us traveling, with Loki, a day or two before Christmas. This way, we figure, I can deal with the dog and not be rushed (in case weather causes problems for dog-flight), and Sara can hop on whatever plane is going the right direction without worry about such issues, seeing as the earliest she can possibly get out of here is the 22nd. Like I said, it'll be an adventure, but hey...that's how it goes.

Other than that, not much to report from the not-yet-frozen tundra. Days are getting noticeably shorter, but no sticking snow so far. Don't worry, pictures of Loki romping through the white stuff are surely not far away...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

ESPN Article

Okay, I can't remember if I posted this when they ran part one (and right now I'm too lazy to go back and check), but here's part two of an ESPN story on the Barrow Highschool football team. Pretty sweet.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A thousand words...

Yeah, don't really have much to post, so I thought I'd share some pictures. It started snowing last night and into today, but if what I hear is true, it's doing the same in Wisconsin this week, so we're really not all that ahead of the curve. Just wait a few months, though...I have a feeling I'll have some good winter pictures and stories by then!

Anyways, to the pictures:

Here's one I just liked, taken while walking the "long way" home from school one evening. Sun setting over the village and all, I just thought it was a nice shot.

If you'll humor my "outdoorsman" fantasies, here's one of me from last week, taken while we were out fishing. I've been taking my shotgun along in case any ducks or geese decided to fly too close for their own good. Mind you, I've gotten exactly zero so far in the few times I've been out, but I just felt it necessary to pose a bit for this picture considering I am, you know, in Alaska and everything.

Here's an obligatory picture of Loki, demonstrating one of his newly aquired hobbies...climbing on top of the couches like a mountain goat. He doesn't really do anything onced he's up there, just looks around and comes back down, but I think he's really just testing our limits and seeing what we'll let him get away with. Sara says his normal, "puppy adolecence", but I'm starting to wonder if he's not just slightly retarded.

And! As a special bonus (lucky, lucky you), here's a link to a video of what happens when you purchase neoprene boots for your dog to protect his paws from the ice and snow when it gets to be real, honest-to-goodness winter in Alaska...and you try to put them on him for the first time. It's not that he hates them, so much, as it is that he doesn't know what the heck is going on. Sorry about the goonish laughter from behind the camera, days can be long and entertainment is at a premiuim. That, or I'm just going a little crazy up here. You can decide.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006


Hey there! Not much of a post here, sorry about that. Much of my week has consisted of watching my teams lose...The Packers got blown out in the second half Monday night (and the next day released Ahmad Carroll, thank god), and then the Twins have played flat and lost their first two ALDS game the last couple of mornings. I'm the kiss-of-death as a fan. I'm aware of this. It's how it works.

Anywho, here's a picture from last weekend before all the losing started! Peter, Jenny, Sara and I went out fishing Saturday evening. We weren't out long, as we had gotten out pretty late, but it was a good time despite the wind and rain. Ran into some kids that were out hunting and chatted a while and got some tips on spots to try later, and had another bit of excitement involving the river and a finicky motor. Everything was fine, but I'll admit to a brief moment of thinking "here we go again..."

Otherwise, all's well here. Sara and I went on a bit of an online shopping spree the other night. Nothing extravagant mind you, all entirely necessary and reasonable purchases (well, ok...maybe the Twins Division Championship shirt was a bit of overkill), but it does make for a daily dose of excitement while walking to the postoffice. Between Amazon, Target, Cabelas,, and others, the odds of each day being a little like Christmas rise quite nicely. And opening that PO box and seeing that little yellow ticket is always a highlight of the day.

Oh, in other news...looked at the forecast yesterday, and supposedly there's a chance of getting snow in the next couple of days! Woohoo!

And, it's PFD day! :-)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Mental exercise

Ready? Close your eyes. (Okay, so you can't really do that and read, so just pretend.) First, picture a livingroom coffee table. Nothing special, and a little messy with a coffee cup, newspapers, and a book or two scattered upon it. Then picture on that coffee table, a bunch of plastic containers of beads, maybe half a dozen or more, each with, oh, a couple hundred tiny colored beads. For craft projects, that sort of thing.

Then picture a dog. A nice dog. A happy dog. A dog that's rarely shown any indication of being the canine embodiment of the mischievous being from whom he derives his name. If you have trouble picturing such a dog, just scroll down. There are pictures.

Anyway, then picture coming home after a couple hours away to find said dog happily asleep on the couch, but all the plastic containers from the coffee table chewed up and on the floor, with the thousands of colored beads they contained liberally scattered about the living room carpet. The two in-process projects chewed to shreds, with beads and traces of thread spread about on both couches.

Yes, it would have been a good idea not to leave such things within easy reach of a Lab less than one year of age. The thing is, he's never really showed an interest in chewing such things, or anything really, since we've moved up here. We thought we were safe, that he was sufficiently occupied by his own toys, and that the days of ever needing to put him in his crate while we weren't at home were past. At least I did.

Alas, Loki has earned his name. And through carelessness I earned a few hours last night, and again this morning, plucking beads from a thick pile carpet to save as many as possible before resorting to the vacuum cleaner.

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More random pictures

Well, as long as I'm posting today, I might as well post a few more of the pictures I've been sitting on, dontcha think?

Last week we took a ride over to Akiuk to pick up Sara from an ELD training day and to visit for a while. This is a view from Sara R.'s front steps. The pic didn't really turn out too well, but it was a pretty nice sunset nonetheless.

There's a group of puppies that have been hanging around near the school dock the last week or so, and Jenny and I were trying get them to play with us before we went to Akiuk. Unfortunately, they were pretty leary, but I got a picture of one poking it's head out from under the boardwalk.

I was lucky enough to be invited along fishing for a few hours with a couple of the teachers this weekend. We were able to get a couple of decent pike (notice I say "we"...I caught exactly zero, though I did get a good follow). Trust me, once I bring home my first good pike (or goose or duck or whatever), more pics will follow. But for now, just a story of a good few hours out on the water.

Fear and Loathing in a Classroom

Wow, I certainly let this slide for the past week or so, haven't I? Oops. My bad.

So, like I was planning on telling you about a week or so ago, I had my first experiences in the substitute teaching realm, and really, it wasn't so bad. You see, for a long, long time, I've known that at some point I wanted to become a teacher. The key words of that sentence being "at some point". I'm not sure if it was more of a fear of simply being on the other side of a classroom, fear of not being taken seriously, or something else akin to plain old scaredy-cat-ism, but I'd always been able to justify putting it off in my head. "Oh, I'll wait 'til I have more separation in age between myself and high school students" was my primary mental delay tactic for the last 5 years or so, combined with the lack of desire to go back to school to get my education training, etc. You see, in my last year of college, I developed a severe allergy to the daily transportation of a backpack full of books, brought on by an acute case of doing so for the vast majority of my, at that point, 22 years of existence.

But anyway, none of that mattered a week and a half ago, as apparently the only formal requirement to become a substitute teacher here is a high school diploma. And a willingness to not, you know, set the classroom on fire if the kids start to misbehave. Which, as you all probably remember from your own school days, would be a distinct possibility on a day when the regular teacher is out and a sub is there in their place. Lucky me.

So my first three days of subbing were for a high school English teacher, doing mostly reading and writing classes, with a "Living Skills" hour and a study hall (called Phase Catchup here, if I'm remembering correctly...long story). The first day was a bit of a challenge, meeting with quite a bit of limit-testing behavior by the kids. Now, I have no idea what they thought of me, but I feel like after I established that I was pretty much in the "don't mess with me, I won't make things tough on you" camp, things went pretty smoothly the next couple days. I was learning probably just as much as they were on a daily basis, with my primary lesson being as simple as: School laptops are to Students as Crack is to....well, people who like crack, I guess. All in all, I had a pretty good time on the high school side of the building, and at the end of the day Friday when they asked me if I could come back last Monday, I was happy to say yes.

When I got to school Monday morning, however, I was mildly terrified to find I would be shifting over to the other side of the building...the elementary side. I was to be a wrangler of 5th graders for the day, and looking at the sub plans laid out for me, I am not ashamed to say I was far more frightened than I was with the high school kids. You see, there are some I've talked to, Sara included, that prefer to work with younger kids, the logic being they are more respectful and more likely to listen to an adult when the adult wants them to do something, having not yet developed that well-documented teenage rebelliousness. I, in my very, VERY short experience, feel exactly the opposite. Older kids know already (for the most part) how they're supposed to behave and what kinds of behaviors are acceptable or not in a classroom. If they're misbehaving, it's by choice, and it seems to be more a matter of convincing them (either logically or by threat-esque methods) to knock it the hell off.

But again, I repeat, I likely have no idea what I'm talking about, having all of, what, 30 hours now in a classroom? And by the way, let me just say I've got a whole new respect for all teachers as of this fall. Long story short, even the day in the elementary class went well, and despite one nasty fall involving tears and an ice pack in gym (remind me to write a little about the game "Bat" later...really quite interesting), and some mild frustrations with a particularly, um, special student, it was a fun experience and a good way for me to get over my initial fear/nerves/whatever.

So we'll see, I guess.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Technical note

Yes, I realize I still owe you guys a post on my first experience with subbing last week (plus Monday of this week, as it turns out...), but this is just a quick post regarding my triumphant return to the mystical, addicting land of MSN Messenger. Or rather, in reality, the short-livedness thereof.

As you may be aware if you've been online the last few days, I discovered over the weekend that dispite MSN messenger being blocked my the school's filter, the "web messenger" site still worked on my computer. So, after having given up on being able to easily keep in touch with a lot of you (email is a little harder for my brain to process, at least quickly...I know, I'm retarded), I thought I'd discovered a way around it and would be able to get on for a little while most days.

Well, it was working earlier today...ask Aaron, we talked a little about Trivia this afternoon. of 5 minutes ago when I opened my computer to sign on here at school, the site is blocked. Nice. Mind you, AIM, Yahoo, ICQ, and iChat work just fine. It's just MSN that happens to apparently arouse the rath of the internet peoples of the district. Figures. Oh well, I was doing fine without it, so I'll get back into that mindset. Just irks me that I thought now I'd be able to use it once in a while is all. So sorry guys, I tried. If you're looking for me, email, or log in to your old yahoo or aol accounts and try to find me...

UPDATE: Well, as of Thursday night, it's working again. Weird. Random...but I'll take it when I can get it :-P Well nevermind let me on for about 10 minutes, then crashed my browser and now it's blocked again. Sweet.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday picture roundup

Don't worry, there will be a post detailing my first 3 days in the world of education *cough*snicker*cough*, but I'll write that this weekend. For now, how about a few pictures from the folder I've been keeping seperate from the rest as "stuff I should probably post at some point". Everybody likes pictures, right?

Here's one of Loki being generally retarded (or cute, if you're into that sort of thing)

Here's one Sara took while out picking berries on the tundra. I like it because it's good composition, and 'cuz it's a pretty good picture of the landscape and how flat it is, etc.

Finally, the two of us on the boat. And apparently showing our loyalty to the ol' alma mater.

lu-na-tic (n.)

Well, despite the risk of identifying myself as the astronomy all-around geek I really am, here's a link to a story I just saw about something cool happening with the moon up here in the northern latitudes. Makes sense, of course, and it's not as terribly exciting as a comet or an eclipse or whatever, but I thought it was neat. Not that I'm able to see it here lately...clouds, rain, and fog have been the status quo all week. Oh well. There's time.

I'm looking forward to getting away from the village lights some clear, cold night this winter. That's gonna be sweet.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Well, A couple hours into day number two of this whole substitute teacher thing and I gotta tell ya, I was mildly shocked. In a good way. I didn't self-destruct, nobody caught fire, and I didn't end the day yesterday huddled in a corner sobbing quietly. All in all, I'd say that's a good sign.

In fact, I was almost giddy over how well it went/is going. Just ask Sara...she may have found me a bit annoying. And of course, knocking on wood. I can see how it could get tiresome and frustrating at times if I were to have to do it on a daily basis. There are some students that are definately a challenge to keep, how shall I say, on task. Or even in their seats. But I think this sub thing is just fine for me at the moment, honestly. I shouldn't be in any one place long enough to get too burnt out and jaded. I think. I hope. Right? :-/

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


If you think of it, send a calm vibe or two my way today. It's my first day subbing. Like, in a classroom. With students and everything.

Scary, huh?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Not to be dramatic or anything... (or, The Fantastic Voyage)

Well, Friday night was interesting to say the least. Sometimes it seems like I have to brainstorm things to post about here if I'm going to be updating more than once a week or so. Not today. You know the scene in "Swingers" when Rob tells Mikey that the previous night's drama didn't upset him too much, because "it's like now I've got my L.A. gun story"? Yeah, it's kinda like that. Except with a boat. Or more accurately, a 75hp outboard I'll be hereafter referring to as "Ol' Smokey".

The story goes like this. Christina, Carey, Sara and I headed out on the boat around 7, over to Akiuk to surprise Sara R. for her birthday. It was to be a good time, with some food, a 6-way game of Settlers (which I got rocked in by the way after previously winning in my second game ever), and a few episodes of Sex and the City on DVD, a show of which I'm not really an active fan, but I've seen a few times and find fairly amusing, if a little annoying. So we hung out with Sara R. and Eric, and decided at around 11 that it was just about time to go. Now, when we got here a month ago, it would have been light at 11pm. Now, it's about twilight, and a mostly overcast sky made for the prospect of a dark boat ride home. Despite my slight worry about traversing the tight channels and cuts of the meandering river in the near-darkness, I knew I was with a party of bush-teacher-superstars, two of which have been in Nunap and driving this river for at least a year. We'd make it home, it would just take a little longer that the trip there, being careful and navigating by memory and flashlight.

Wait, let me back up a second, I just have to drop in a story from the trip over. We had a bit of a run-in with the shoreline, having been moving quite quickly through the lake so as not to get the motor bogged down in the weeds that cover the majority of the shallow water. Christina was headed for some equipment on the shore that had previously marked the opening to the next cut, but apparently...someone had moved the equipment. So there we were, bow in the weeds, unable to use the motor to reverse for fear of wrapping up the prop in said weeds, trying to push ourselves out from shore with a length of 2x4 that someone had luckily left in the boat. We didn't have too much luck using it, but enough to eventually back us out to the point at which we could put the motor in reverse and head out and over to the actual cut through to the next lake that got us to Akiuk and Sara R.'s place. At the time it seemed like a touch of adventure, enough that I took a picture with the intent of posting on it, but little did I know at the time that the trip to Akiuk would be the easy, even funny, half of the evening's travels.

So back to a little after 11pm. Armed with a pair of flashlights and not much else, we headed out to make the two or three mile trip back...or so we thought. We'd made it a few minutes out, maybe a third of the way across the first lake when the motor started to noticeably strain. The fact that we were traveling through pretty heavy weeds, and more slowly than usual at that due to traveling at night, made us think at first that it was just a matter of the prop being wrapped with vegetation. Soon however, the thick smoke and high-pitched beeping from the instrument panel seemed to indicate otherwise, and the initial diagnosis was that the motor was out of oil. Not a good situation in the middle of a lake at 11:30pm, with no oars of any kind, not to mention VHF radio or outboard oil to add to the motor. So, after a bit of discussion we decided to turn around and head back to Akiuk, to see a) if we could make it, b) if we would be able to scrounge up some oil for the motor, and c) if not, if there was a place there we could crash for the night until someone could come get us/fix the motor.

Of course, the "fixing the motor" part was entirely contingent on us not completely ruining the thing on the way back by running it (so we thought at the time) bone-dry on oil. Limping back and listening to the motor strain, I have to admit that while I knew we weren't in any real, immediate danger beyond just getting stuck on the water for a few hours overnight (and getting in trouble for blowing up the motor on the school boat), there was a bit of praying to the gods of internal combustion machinery. And, well, it worked, because about 45 minutes after we had left, we nursed the boat back into the school dock at Akiuk. Now lit by the village lights, we were able to take a look at the motor well enough to determine that while the boat was indeed a little low on oil, it was by no means out of oil as the beeping would have suggested. This was good, as we were unable to find any usable oil anyways at around midnight on a Friday. No, the beeping was something different indeed. A closer examination of the instrument panel by Christina revealed that the beeping we were hearing, combined with the inability of the motor to run above half speed, meant that the problem was as simple as overheating due to mud/grass/muck/whatever being sucked into the cooling system. The motor was then turned on to check if the output of water did indeed seem restricted (we hadn't noticed this through the smoke while trying to get back), and whaddaya know? It was spitting out exactly no water at all.

After all breathing an audible sigh of relief that the problem seemed to be an easy fix, as opposed to a possible welding of pistons to cylinders for want of lubrication, we procured some wire with which to clear the output, and borrowed an additional flashlight and Sara's VHF radio...just in case. We got the motor "peeing" like a champ again, and after the slight delay headed back out one more time for the attempt to make it home for the evening. We took it slow, which helped the motor stay a little cooler, but which also meant drafting a little lower in the water and chewing up more weeds and gunk, so we stopped a few times to clear the prop, make sure the output was clear, and give the engine some time to rest. The sky had cleared nicely in the time we were dorking around in Akiuk, and a full moon provided quite a bit of light for us as we dropped anchor each time to prevent the wind from pushing us into the heavier weeds at shore. In addition, the little bit of light was helpful in finding our way through the cuts and channels to navigate back to Nunap. Not to say we didn't make a wrong turn or two, but all in all the rest of the trip back went fairly smoothly...if at a much slower pace than the trip out.

I have to say, after we all knew the engine would behave if treated kindly, the mood relaxed and we had a pretty good time making our way back. With Cap'n Christina at the wheel, Carey navigating and operating the spotlight, Sara reprising her role as Communications Director in charge of the VHF as well as keeping an eye on the motor's "peeing" and a firm hold on the wire with which to clear the hole, and myself, well, not doing much of anything but trying to keep my appointed flashlight charged, we joked around and tried not to get too loopy from the smoke/fumes. Only a brief moment of panic when the motor didn't seem to want to start after we had stopped to rest within sight of home and swiming distance of the Nunap school dock put a kink in the mood, but like I said, that moment was brief. We were home and on dry(ish) land only a couple hours after we had originally left Akiuk.

Probably the biggest reason we needed to get home was that the boat was needed on Saturday morning to pick up another teacher and the school's cross country team at the airport, which as I understand was another adventure altogether...but I'll leave that story to Christina, as I was thankfully home snug in my bed at the time.

edited 9/12 to add pics :-)

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Bright lights, big(er) city.

Well that was fun. Like I mentioned, we went into Bethel this weekend to do some stuff and really, just to get away for a night. Which, I think, was about the perfect amount of time in Bethel, really. You see, we have this dog, and he's a bit...hyper. But yeah. One day was enough time to eat out a time or two, do some (okay, a whole lot) of shopping, and get back home without going too crazy. Not to say there wasn't craziness and a little frustration, but knowing we were headed home pretty quickly kept things from grating too hard, I think.

The problem with Bethel, it seems, is transportation-based. Not to say that transportation in Bethel is a problem in general, I obviously don't know the place well enough to judge that, just that it was a problem for us. We flew out after school on Friday afternoon with a few other teachers, and after the short, 10 minute or so flight, we were at the airport with some decisions to make. Namely, how do we want to do this? We had a short list of things we needed to do, as well as a couple things we'd like to do if we had time/a way to get there. Here's where the proper putting-of-things-into-order became crucial. we had gotten in just barely too late to get to the bank to deposit the cashier's check I'd brought with from my bank in Wisconsin, and they wouldn't be open again until, well, today because of the holiday weekend, so that plan was done for. The only thing remaining to do that night was to check in to our hotel and find something to eat.

After grabbing a taxi and checking in to the Longhouse again (which you may remember as the place we stayed when we were weathered in Bethel back in March), we walked over to the pizza place where we had made plans to meet up with Christina and Richard. We sat down, and since we were a little early, in true Wisconsinite style ordered some delicious fried cheese as an appetizer. Now, I don't know if I've mentioned this in passing in any posts before, but Sara has a little mantra that she's learned from living up here a few years that I'm trying to take to heart my cheap self..."Just don't look at the prices. It's not worth it, you'll just get upset." I'm learning quickly the wisdom of these words. You see, anything that gets out here for us to purchase likely wasn't produced within, oh, a thousand miles or two. Combined with the fact that there aren't even any roads on which to truck said products to us consumers, and you can see how the overhead might make things a little bit pricier that I'm used to. And being fairly cheap in the first place, it makes certain bullets harder to bite. But aaaaanyway...

So that was basically the extent of Friday night's excitement in Bethel, we poked around Swanson's until they closed and got an idea of things we'd look for while shopping the next day, then walked back to the hotel and were slugs and watched some Chapelle's Show until we fell asleep. Next day, we grabbed some "continental breakfast", a.k.a. watery coffee and one of those little boxes of cereal you remember from your childhood. Apple Jacks, yum. And here's where the transportation issues come into play. We're on a pretty good stretch of road, with a bunch of things within walking distance. the problem is, everywhere we want to go today is somewhere that involves purchasing things. And not just a couple things that can be thrown into a bag and carried with us to our next stop. We're talking lumber, gallons of paint, groceries to last us weeks, etc. That leaves us with the taxi, which are flat rates instead of by time or mile, and generally a pain in the butt. So along with Swanson's (which is really three stops: the hardware store, the lumberyard, and the grocery store), we also hoped to get to honest to god chain fastfood place, akin to well as the A.C. Which would require some fancy taximanship, loading up from Swanson's, one of us being dropped of on the way to the airport, while another took our massive quantity of stuff we'd purchased to the airport. This seemed like a good plan, until we got through at Swanson's and decided that, yeah...Subway's not worth it, not even now. Let's just go to the airport. Mind you, this is the sanitized, hindsight version of the transportation saga. At the time there was much debate and deliberation. Long story short, or I guess pretty long at this point, is that I think it will be a lot easier to get around Bethel, if maybe not to Bethel, once winter sets in and we can just take a snowmobile the 15 miles or so.

So after getting everything boxed up and to the terminal at the airport we got out of Bethel around 24 hours after getting there...a few hundred dollars lighter in the bank account and a few dozen pounds overweight with freight for our flight back (each passenger is allowed 40 lbs of luggage/freight on the bush planes...we were at about 130 between the two of us). And after getting our stuff home from the landing strip and surveying the damage done by Loki and hearing the tales of his dual dogsitters, I must say it was good to be home and not have to worry anymore. Either about how he was doing or how we were going to get to the next place we were going.

And that's the long, rambling story of the Bethel trip. Exciting, huh? Well at least we got right on the ball with using the painting supplies...I'll have to post before and after pics of the living room soon...remind me, ok?

Friday, September 1, 2006

And we're out.

Okay, off to Bethel for the weekend! Well, a day at least. Going to do a little shopping and just generally enjoy the big city life, ya know ;-)

I'll have a report on the trip when we get back! Have a good long weekend, everybody!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Home sweet home

I've been hearing a little bit of whining as to why I haven't posted a picture of our house here! The inside is still a work in progress (as you may have seen if you looked at the video of Loki and Bailey), so pictures of that may wait until after we get to Bethel for paint, lumber, etc, but I figured I'd better give you all something. So here's our front door!

The building our apartment is in is actually an old school building, with the classrooms just separated off into living space. Which means, if you want to picture our place, just think of a big rectangular classroom, with two walls dividing it into thirds. That's it. We've even got the sweet long institutional fluorescent lighting fixtures. Don't worry, we don't use them unless we're cleaning or something.

So there are three of these apartments in our building, with one teacher living in each of the others. It's nice, we have a washer and a dryer in the building, water is piped in (no bulk tank), and flush plumbing! Really, what else can a guy ask for? But seriously, compared to what I saw of Sara's place in Quinhagak last year, there are some minor things about this place that are a little more, shall we say, ghettotastic, but there are definitely some major convenience factors that make it more comfortable. All in all, so far, so good :-)

And on another happy note, yesterday was like christmas...a grand total of 4 boxes came in the mail! Including...hold on to your hats...all my fishing gear! You have no idea how excited this makes me...ok, maybe you do, but still. I'm pretty excited.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Well hello there

Partially, I'm just checking in here at 12:28am on a Sunday night/Monday morning to assure you I haven't been eaten by a rogue salmon or anything...I've just had a perfect storm of internet issues and time issues this week that kept me from being online much at all. Sorry about that. More stories and pictures to come, I promise.

But for now, I wanted to just post a link to a story that I found interesting and that might give some of you a bit of a frame of reference for what life's like up here using something I know many of you are familiar with...high school football.

An added bonus, of course, goes to the fact that the story is about the school where our previously-mentioned northernmost pal Jody is a teacher! Allowing you, gentle readers, get the inside scoop as well. Nifty, eh?

(I would just like to point out, postscript-style, that while Barrow is indeed way, way up there, it also has a population of around 4,700. Nunapitchuk is roughly 1/10th that size. So I don't think I can hope for a $100,000 football program around here anytime soon. Just have to wait 'til basketball season, I guess.)

Friday, August 18, 2006 testing...

Okay, so is blocked by the school internet, but Google Video is in the interest of experimentation (as well as showing you the canine craziness, of course), let's see if you can access the video of their morning wrestling match if I link it like this!

Do not pass go, do not collect $200

Another boardwalk picture, I know. You're going to get bored with me pretty quickly...there's not all that much new and different for me to be documenting all the time, but I'll do my best to keep it fresh.

So after about a day and a half of blue skies this week, and now we're back to overcast and windy. It's in the 50s and fairly gloomy, but I don't really mind at all. My kind of weather, feels like football season. Besides, we're counting our blessings...our friend Jody moved up to Barrow this year, and they've been in the 30s this week and just had their first snow! In August!! Makes for a long, long winter, methinks.

In other news, I've got my application for employment with the LKSD as a sub or an aide here in my grubby little paws. Of course, I'm nervous to actually pull the trigger and doubly nervous to actually be in a classroom for the first time on the other side of the desk, but I'll suck it up and do it and see what happens. It's the only job I'm going to find here, and it's mine if I want it, so why not, right? A job's a job.

It's Friday, which means it's been two weeks that we've been here. Falling into a solid routine, getting comfortable, and it's really is starting to feel like home here. Not to say I wouldn't like to be headed to Joe's at 5 o'clock for a cold beer with the guys, but there's plenty of time for that later. Like Christmas break :-)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What's this bright, glowing ball?

Hi there! I'm trying not to do too many posts of just pictures, but it's hard because there really hasn't been too much going on. Let me rack my brain a little and see what I can come up with...

Well, first of all, this picture is the sunset from tonight, just a couple minutes before 11pm. It's been overcast and rainy here for, oh, pretty much the whole time since we've been here, so I was pretty excited this afternoon while I was watching Monday "Night" Football when the sky started to break a little. First I could see a few little patches of blue, then a little more, then by about 6pm the whole sky was clear and there was actually sunlight bouncing in the window and all around. I know, not too exciting, but when it's been a while...what can I say? When I saw the sun startign to go down I ran outside to see the sunset and take some pictures.

You know, outside of the getting used to going to bed with it still being light outside, it's kinda nice to have it stay light so late in the summer up here. There's just so much As I type this at around 11:15pm, Sara's still out with our neighbors picking blueberries and salmonberries. I forced her to take my camera (the less unwieldy, more pocket-friendly of our two), so hopefully she'll return with some nice pictures as well to share.

Let's see, what else? Loki's been continuing to terrorize Bailey, of course. We were over there earlier tonight to play Settlers (yes Aaron/Eric/whoever's reading this, I actually learned to play Settlers, and I think it's something I could become addicted beware), and the two of them were going at it non-stop for the majority of the time. Dispite panting within an inch of his life, drinking 2 or 3 bowls of water, being bloodied and slobbered, Loki just refuses to leave poor Bailey alone. It's really quite something.

School starts this week for Sara, which is cool. I know she's excited to get to work and meet all of her kids for the year. Well, outside of the ones we already know from their knocking 5 times a day wanting to visit or play with the dog. Something tells me you'll be hearing more about a certain boy named Billy before the year is done...

Ok, I think I'm starting to ramble a little too much for tonight, but remind me to tell you a little about Loki's swimming adventures, not to mention some rediculous tundra mosquitos. I think I've had more bug bites in the last week and a half than I did the rest of the whole summer!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Partners in Crime

Here are Loki and Bailey, caught in a rare moment of pause due only to the introduction of a couple of tasty treats into the arena of combat. Otherwise, a full two hours of non-stop wrestling is not unusual for these two canine neighbors.

Please note that while they may appear to be constantly fighting, nipping each other and rolling around the floor, in reality they're becoming fast friends. This, even dispite Loki's insistance on stealing Bailey's food/water/treats/attention whenever the chance presents itself. My dog has a number of positive traits...good manners, unfortunately, are not on that list.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006


This is the view from our front door. That's the Johnson River there behind all the plumbing and the (diesel?) tanks for the power plant. Hey, I've always wanted to live on the water, and really, I could probably throw a baseball into the river from our front steps :-)

Another front door view, looking to the right, which gives a good shot of the boardwalks I've mentioned. They go everywhere around the village, down to the river, etc. They're just a few inches off the tundra mostly, and Loki's had a good time jumping on and off, into the swampy goodness of the not-yet-frozen tundra.

This is a picture of the "school dock", taken from the school's boat as we took it to go fill up the gas tank. Actually, Christina was taking it to get gas, and Sara and I tagged along to see how it's done and where to go so we could know how things work in the future.

This is Sara and Christina (and'll be hearing more about Bailey), in the boat at the gas station. Have I mentioned how important boats are up here? Hey dad, we haven't had ours out in a couple years...mind mailing it up for a few months? Slap some stamps on 'er, I'm sure she'll make it up in a week or so...right?

Monday, August 7, 2006

Hey, lookie there

So I took this picture of the school building as we were leaving for home, and since the internet happens to be working here at the moment, I thought I'd go ahead and post it. Exciting, I know.



We're here, we're here. Sorry for the delay in posting to let you all know, but our internet's been kinda spotty at home. Plus the fact that I haven't really taken any pictures yet to share, but don't worry...I'll be getting on that.

Things are good here, falling into place. Got in on Friday morning after a pretty harrowing 26 hour trip. Unlike past trips, all our planes were right on time this go-round, so we didn't have to worry about any of that stress. Having the dog with us was a little tough, though more from a worry perspective than anything else. So a car ride, three plane rides, and a boat ride later, we made it to our new place.

Like I said, I'll have pictures in a day or two, but here are a couple first impressions:

- Having boardwalks everywhere is kinda cool. It's like walking on a deck from the house to school, the post office, etc.

- I underestimated how much the extra sunlight would mess with my head. The sun goes down at around 11:30pm and rises at shortly after 6am, so I've never really seen the place in the dark yet. It's a little unnerving, but I guess we'll be making up for it in the winter months, now won't we?

- I slept a crazy amount yesterday. We're talking a full night's sleep, then a 4 hour nap in the afternoon. Still trying to find my balance, I think. They say it takes roughly three weeks for the average person to adjust to a new routine or situation before it becomes "normal" or "habit", so I have a little ways to go. But I think we'll be juuuust fine :-)

So yeah, I'll be back as soon as I get some pictures to show you, and as long as the internet cooperates and lets me post them! Peace!

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Well, still not too much to report, other than preparations being underway at their own organic pace. We do have tickets, we know when we're heading up. That's a start. And really, we have all of next week and a little of the week after that free (tomorrow is my last day of work and we don't fly out of Chicago until the evening of Aug. 3rd), so we'll do the vast majority of our packing and moving and cleaning then. Yee haw.

But I figured, since I've started actually giving out this web address, I should probably pay a little bit of attention to, you know, actually providing a little bit of new content on occasion. Just a bit.

So let's take a look at just where exactly I'm moving to...

Nunapitchuk, Alaska. (Wikipedia entry, city-data entry, school page.)

To be perfectly honest, I know very little about Nunap. What I do know, I've just heard from Sara or read on the internet. Like everything out that way, it's well off the road system, though it is closer to Bethel than Quinhagak, and there's access to Bethel by boat when the river is open and by snowmobile when it's not. That will be nice, in addition to quite useful. I hear the fishing isn't as good as near other villages, with less salmon. In exchange, however, I'm told the Northern Pike fishing is excellent, and since I already know how to fish Pike, that will be fun. I know they're supposed to get more snow there than Sara's had in Quinhagak the last couple years, owing to the fact Nunap's a little more inland. I know they have boardwalks as opposed to roads like I saw in Quin. I also know that they have flush plumbing instead of honey buckets, which will be nice. But mostly, I know that I'm packing up my stuff and my dog and moving there in a couple weeks. So yeah, I'm excited!

More to come...

Monday, June 19, 2006


Just checking in...been a while since I posted here. As is to be expected, I guess, since I haven't moved up to Alaska yet...

But! Sara's home for the summer, preperations are in the early stages of being made for the big move (not to mention next year's wedding...), and the excitement, and well as the butterflies, are starting to build.

Been playing around with the look of the blog a little bit, and I think it's starting to take shape. I'm not what you'd call an html "expert", so if anything's not working on your monitor, just let me know in the comments, ok?

Thanks, and hope you're having a good summer!

And of course, stay tuned...

Saturday, April 1, 2006

More Random Pictures from Alaska

I really like this picture...

Sunset over the fish romantic!

Sara on the beach :-)

View down the street from school

Driving to the see it, right?

Flying into Eek

Special delivery!!

Fancy schmancy Alaska Air terminal in Bethel

Flying into Anchorage

Sunset on the mountains in Anchorage...there's a reason so many pictures are taken in airports, you know...

Aaaaaaand...the sun rising shortly before landing in Chicago.

Wow, that was a lot of pics....hopefully everything loads ok for you. If not, sorry...and don't worry, they're crappy photos anyway, you didn't miss much.