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...