Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Meat is murder yummy!

So our Span frozen order came. Finally.

Admit it, you've always wondered what a few hundred dollars worth of frozen meat products looks like. It's ok...it's good to be curious.

Almost enough to make me sad we'll be headed to WI for Xmas on Friday, unable to really dig into the wonderful symphony of animal flesh in our freezer.

Almost ;-)

Monday, December 17, 2007

iTraining

I spent last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with a great group of students, in Bethel for training for some of the great multimedia tools that are on the school computers. The district flew up an Apple trainer from California who, from the sound of it, does a ton of these sorts of workshops. At first, I was a little skeptical of how the training was going to work, but I have to say, he won me (and more importantly the kids) over right away and just took off running with showing us the capabilities and the nuts and bolts of some of the "iLife" programs that come with computers that the schools have for all the students to use.

Now, I've never been a "Mac guy", but that's mostly been because I've never had occasion to use a Mac for any reason. So when I did, it was only to, say, check my email on Sara's school computer, and of course the interface was pretty foreign to me, and I just didn't have the comfort level to use it like I do with my PCs. But now that I'm using them more, and seeing the kinds of programs available on Macs, and their focus on creative-type stuff, I'm definitely seeing the appeal. I'm even entertaining the possibility of having a Mac around at some point in the near future, and splitting my time on seperate gaming/work-focused and creative-stuff-focused setups. Not that I want to buy another computer right now...just saying I can see myself doing it in the future sometime. Like maybe a tax-return or PFD time splurge...

But the training itself went awesome...can't wait to get started on some of the website and podcast stuff we're going to do with the High School students next semester. I think they're going to have a blast...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Without further adieu....

It's a boy!!!!

Here are the first of what are sure to be countless pictures of the kid to appear on this blog :-D





(Doesn't that second picture make him look like the pig-doctor from that Twilight Zone episode??)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Update

For those of you wondering...here's what I know so far:

1. Sara's appointment went really well.

2. The ultrasound person wrote down the sex of the baby on a slip of paper and put it in an envelope along with some snapshots, etc (apparently the printer was working this time...heh). We'll open it together when she gets home tomorrow :-)

3. You can definitely expect another blog post on the subject.

Friday, December 7, 2007

*cue halleluja chorus*

New York Times: Some Airlines to Offer In-Flight Internet Service

One of the airlines mentioned? Alaska. Yeah, how nice will it be to be able to get online during the six-and-a-half hour flight between Chicago and Anchorage? A much better use of $10 than the "digi-players", that's for sure :-)

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they equip the long-haul planes by spring. If so, I might have to invest in an extra laptop battery so I get my money's worth out of the flight...heh.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

"it's all kinda sketchy past anchorage"

[rant]

Christmas shopping from the village is interesting.

Of course, the "revolution" of online shopping has undoubtedly changed life out here...I wouldn't know personally, as I've only been here a year and a half. But to be able to sit at one's desk and browse the full collections of the online retailers of the world is definitely a comforting connection to the world outside. It's just as easy (and dangerous) to browse Amazon or Target.com on payday as it is to go bum around Target in person, tossing things into the cart on impulse...more than once, I've exclaimed my relief that Fleet Farm doesn't have an online store :-)

The only problem is when it comes to the shipping. That's where the title quote of this post comes, from Sara. I've been doing most of my xmas shopping online, of course, but just as planning travel this time of year involves a little bit of dice-tossing, the same goes for the speed (or turtle-like-sloth) of the arrival of anything purchased online. The variables are myriad and sundry...weather, river, competence of a company's shipping people, the service they sent the package with, karma, the phase of the moon, the direction of the migration of the Caribou herds, etc. A package sent regular mail arrived from Florida in a matter of a few days...a box from Seattle sent UPS "next day" a few weeks ago has yet to arrive...frozen food shipped freight from Anchorage even earlier is, at this point, probably halfway over the Alaska Range on dogsled.

Really, anything we need to buy has to be done online, seeing as we won't be getting home until right before xmas. Thankfully, we've been making a few of our gifts this year, so that's dependent only on our motivational level and raw materials. Anything else I need to finish up ordering online, at this point, is going to have to just be shipped to Wisconsin, lest they turn into Martin Luther King day gifts.

[/rant]

Monday, December 3, 2007

(Non) Controversy

So, after a couple weeks of cold and snow and actual winter weather, it decided to get all warm and springlike again last week. We're talking almost 50 degrees for a week. All the snow we had is gone, and the ice on the river got so bad again that we missed some school on Friday and again today. Awesome. *smacks forehead*

The reality of "climate change" may be questioned elsewhere in the world, but all I heard here last week was students walking the halls, looking out the windows, muttering "#*&^@%! this global warming!"

I didn't have the heart to yell at them for swearing.

Friday, November 30, 2007

An aside...

I know, I know...not Alaska-related, but I put my other blog on hiatus and I need to post this somewhere.

Two points about the Packers-Cowboys game:

1. AARON! F*@%!^&! RODGERS! The kid is for real! Or, as Sara pointed out, maybe it was the mullet giving him power.

and...

2. Final Score -> Packers 27 to Cowboys 23 (+ Refs 14 for a combined total of 37)

That is all.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Crazy Weather

Yeah, it's almost December, and the high temp today is supposed to be in the 40s. What the heck is going on? Not to mention this...
KUSKOKWIM DELTA
- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...BETHEL...HOOPER BAY...NUNIVAK ISLAND
859 AM AST THU NOV 29 2007

...HIGH WIND WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM AST FRIDAY...

SOUTHEAST WINDS 45 TO 60 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 80 MPH ARE EXPECTED
ALONG THE COAST AND NUNIVAK ISLAND THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING. WINDS
WILL BEGIN TO DIMINISH FRIDAY NIGHT.

A HIGH WIND WARNING MEANS A HAZARDOUS HIGH WIND EVENT IS EXPECTED
OR OCCURRING. PEOPLE ARE URGED TO SECURE LOOSE OBJECTS THAT COULD
BE BLOWN AROUND OR DAMAGED BY THE WIND.
Let's hope our satellite dish doesn't get blown away before the big Packers-Cowboys game after work today!! (BTW, thank goodness the NFL Network is on the basic Dish Network package...seriously! Between the nationally televised games and the amount of times they've played not at the same time as the Seahawks, we've only missed, I think, 2 or 3 Packer games so far this season...not to shabby for being 3000-and-some-odd miles away from the home market :-P)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pure fluff

Man, I don't know how I plan on keeping this blog from turning into baby-central once the munchkin arrives...I can't even keep myself from posting pictures of the d*mn dog all the time...

Said dog investigating his new snowdrift that formed over the weekend


Same dog enjoying our xmas lights, flabbergasted that Sara dared to leave the house and walk next door.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Gobble gobble

Wow, how have I let a couple weeks slip by without posting? I suck.

So let's see, what have I missed? Not too much, I guess. Sara and I hosted our first holiday gathering on Thursday, and that seemed to go over quite well. Despite a little pre-event stress, everything came out just fine (even the turkey). Many of our fellow teachers brought over a bunch of wonderful food, and we sat and talked and ate and watched football...pretty much all you can ask for from Thanksgiving :-)

Other than that, not too much else exciting to report. Plugging along into the last month of the semester at school...trying to get everyone where they need to be, etc. Kinda stressful, which may explain my desire to just get out of dodge at the end of the schoolday, and not sit around and blog. Alas, before we know it, it will be Christmas break, and we'll be back in Point, kicking it with family and friends. Just in case you're wondering, we'll be getting into O'Hare and back to town (weather permitting, of course) sometime late on Dec. 22nd, and be headed back to AK on Jan. 11th. So, we'll be bouncing around, trying to see everyone in that time...so if you're around and want to grab a beer or something, just let me know! I have a bit of a rule to try not to turn down *any* chance to go out and have fun while I'm back in WI...'cuz I have plenty of time to sit around and stare out the window when I'm up here :-P

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday Afternoon (Random Thoughts)

Just in case you needed another reminder that we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto:

Fearing rabies, villagers shoot more than 20 dogs

So apparently, there's this pack of rabid wolves hanging around Marshall, which is what, 3 or 4 hours north of us on the Yukon. Last week someone from Fish and Game said something along the lines of that his advice to the people there would be to "get out there and shoot them, they're in season!" Which, of course, I've already read some backlash about from some wolf conservation groups downstates. There was a time, I guess, I may have agreed.

But things are a little bit different up here.

I've been going back and forth about whether to write about this new movie, Into the Wild, that seems to have been drumming up a lot of reaction here in Alaska. Now, I've never read the book, and of course I haven't seen the movie, but it seems like there's a bunch of people look at this guy as some kind of counterculture hero. In Alaska, people seem to mostly see him as an idiot who went out in the wilderness without the right supplies or knowledge and died because of it. Here's a good collection of stuff about him and the movie from the Anchorage paper.

I think a couple years ago I would have liked this movie, maybe thought the guy was a visionary or an adventurer.

I'm glad I hadn't heard of the story before moving up here. Now, I just think the guy was a moron.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bread of Life...

I know, I'm not always good at including cultural/culinary Alaska stuff here, but when I read this story in the ADN yesterday, I figured I should share it with my lower 48 pals...

Alaska staple is safe: Rumors of Pilot Bread's demise are false

Seriously. I'd never even heard of the stuff before moving here. At least, not in a context other than Civil War soldiers used to complain about hardtack. Now, I eat it pretty much every day! I found myself craving it this summer, back in Wisconsin...it's the ultimate random foodstuff. The edible equivalent of a blank canvas.

Whenever we move back to the midwest, I think I'm going to have to figure out how to order the stuff...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

KWN N.Y.O. Pictures (& November Rain?)

Sorry about the G'n'R reference...I just read the latest weather forecast for the week. Sad, sad. We're stuck in this upper-20s to mid-30s pattern, which has meant lots of snow (good), but no ice being made on the river (bad). Hence, our lovely snowmachine is left sitting, waiting for a chance to get off the boardwalk and out and about across the river.

Been a while since I posted, hasn't it? Been kinda busy, but then again, that's a good thing. I was able to accompany the school's NYO team to Quinhagak this past weekend, and it was loads of fun. In fact, why don't I just post a few of the pics I took and tell a little of the story that way?


Loading up the boat to head over to the airport. One of the older guys that works at the school said that this is only the second or third time in his life, that he can remember, that the river's still open in November. Someone call Al Gore.


At the airport...our buses have arrived!


For some reason, I'm almost always on the wrong side of the plane to be able to take a picture of the village coming in or out...that, or the weather's too bad to see anything. Friday was beautiful flying weather, so I was able to snap a shot from a little ways away. Hopefully, sometime, I'll be able to get a better, closer shot.


The airport in Quinhagak is a couple miles out of the village proper, but unlike Nunap, they have actual roads! So some nice folks from the school came and picked us up...and Carey and I "got" to ride in the back of the truck. A little chilly, but a nice view of the mountains!


One of the best things about being able to travel to Quinhagak was seeing our friends, Eric and Sherry, and their little one. Sara wanted to come along and see a whole bunch of students, teachers, and parents she knows from when she taught here for a couple years, but unfortunately, there ended up not being any room on the charters for her to tag along. Here, Eric is teaching his boy an essential NYO skill...the High Kick!


After we got settled in, it was time to start the events. Since there were only two teams there, I ended up helping to judge almost everything. This is the third meet that I've helped, so I'm starting to feel like I'm understanding all the rules enough that I won't be nervous about judging on my own, if need be, next time. Anyways, here is one of our students balancing for the One Arm Reach.


After all the events were over on Friday night, the Quinhagak team stuck around for a sleepover with the Nunap team at the school. Lots of hanging out and open gym time. They have a bunch of rollerblades at their school for some reason, so everyone had a good time playing rollerhockey and generally skating around and trying not to fall on their butts.


video
We were ahead of schedule when we finished up on Friday night (another nice thing about only having two teams there), but we still had more events to do on Saturday. Here is a very quick video of some kids practicing for one of my favorites, Eskimo Stick Pull (named so as to differentiate it from Indian Stick Pull, which is a completely different beast, and involves Crisco. Seriously.)


Another benefit of bringing a big team to a small meet...here's the high school team accepting the 1st place trophy!


It had been a long 24 hours, and without much sleep, as I can attest...here are the boys, (mostly) sleeping on the plane ride home. The pilot woke them up shortly after this pic was taken, however, with a few good rounds of "roller coaster" :-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

That's not just snowflakes in the air...

Snow is on the ground, river's freezing up (or it would, if people would stay off and stop busting it up it with their boats!), and it's getting to be that time of year...

Got the snowmachine out of storage last night...still have to go through it good this weekend, but after a quick check it started up no problem.

So when does the trail open to Bethel? :-D

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Try not to get dizzy...

So it's really quick, and horrible camera work, but here's a look at the river from yesterday afternoon. Notice the open water near the dock where we're standing - there are people fishing out on the ice by the opposite bank :-)

video

Monday, October 22, 2007

Trip Report

Well, as I believe I had mentioned here at some point, we headed out of the village to Anchorage this past weekend. Sara had a couple of doctor's appointments scheduled for Thursday morning, so the plan was to head out from the village on Wednesday afternoon right after school, then from Bethel to Anchorage on the jet. Well, we almost didn't make it. The weather had been fine, clear and sunny, all day Wednesday. Then, about half an our before we were supposed to catch our plane ride out after school, the clouds and snow rolled in, and we were on dreaded weather hold for a couple hours, which of course meant sitting, worrying, and stewing over the fact that our well planned and much-looked-forward-to trip was going to be foiled by a dastardly October snowstorm. But luckily, at about quarter to 6 we heard the pilot call over the VHF that he was 6 minutes out, and we rushed to the boat and over to the airport for the first portion, and really the only stressful part, of our trip. So we got to Anchorage with no problems after that, picked up our rental car, got to the hotel and checked in at around 11:30 or so. Despite our exhaustion and the fact that we had to be awake in about 6 hours to get to the clinic for the appointments, we decided that we needed to celebrate getting to the big city by ordering a pizza. It was, needless to say, delicious.

So, the next morning we drove over to the clinic for our appointments. As you probably already know by now (or have probably guessed), Sara and I are officially expecting our first child in May :-) Well, all the appointments went just fine, and we got some questions answered and issues resolved and schedule set up, so I'm a little more comfortable with the logistics of how this is all going to work, with us out here in the boonies and two plane rides away from our doctor.

The rest of the trip was a bit of a whirlwind, but a relaxing whirlwind, if that's at all possible. We got a bunch of shopping in at a whole bunch of different places, including some places that we hadn't planned on...we ended up using a technique called "drive around for a while 'til we see something that looks interesting". It worked well for us.

We also got to go out to eat a few times to satisfy that little part of our brains that have felt deprived of the not-always-healthy-but-oh-so-satisfying restaurant experience. Sara wasn't able to get sushi, sadly, due to her present state, but we did get to the Bear's Tooth Theater/Pub for some excellent eats and a screening of the newest Harry Potter movie we had not managed to get to over the summer. I was also able, at the Bear's Tooth, to get a nice glass of Porter to supplement the bottle of Imperial Stout and the six-pack of ESB I had picked up for the hotel room. Hey, there are other things I was looking forward to that we can't get in the village besides just gyros and fresh veggies!

So, having tamed the grumbling in our brains for things that we were craving, we headed back to the airport Saturday morning and made the trip back to the village. Now that we've had the first appointments, Sara doesn't mind me talking about the whole baby situation (which I can totally understand...don't want to have to un-tell a bunch of people should anything go wrong at first)...but I promise, I have no intention of letting this turn into a baby-centric blog or anything. I know that can happen with expectant/new parents, but I'd like to think I can resist the urge to post nonstop pics and videos of "baby's first spit bubble" and the like. But we'll see. It's definitely going to be a big part of my "Alaska Adventure" from here on out, so you'll definitely not have to dig too far for baby news. But yeah, that's what's up :-)

On a side note...freeze-up is happening! We pulled boats out of the water yesterday (good thing we got back Saturday...I don't think we would have made it across the river yesterday!!), and school was canceled today after almost half of the kids didn't show up because of the river. So it's just about time to get the snowmachine out of storage and start the fun that all that entails! Woohoo!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

When in Anchorage...

This is what is sitting right next to me, right now, as I type this.

I love Anchorage.

Almost as much as I love good beer.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

At least it's an even number, I guess

Just in case anyone back in Wisconsin felt like complaining about gas prices, I thought I'd share an email that was just posted on our staff forum here at school:

Nunapitchuk Ltd. informed me that heating fuel and gas prices went up today at the gas station. Heating fuel is $4.75 a gallon and gas is $5.00 a gallon and no more 10% off for share holders.

Mxxxxxx Exxxx
Site Tech
School/Community Advocate
Nunapitchuk, AK 99641
(907)-527-xxxx

Monday, October 15, 2007

Snowy Weekend

Wow, winter sure snuck up on us this weekend!

It started snowing Friday night. Not too heavy, just a lazy dusting of flakes that were barely sticking to the boardwalk. But by the middle of the night when I took Loki out, it was starting to stick to the grass, and by the next morning there was a blanket of white and it was still coming down :-P

Not to mention the fact that it was 17 degrees when I woke up early Sunday to watch the Packer game. There was even ice on the river! Luckily, enough boats were still going through to chop it up, and once the sun warmed up in the afternoon it was pretty much all gone...we need the river not to freeze up this week! Why, you ask? Stay tuned...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Oktoberfest, Tundra-style

On Saturday, the staff over at Akiuk invited us and the Akula staff over for their big Oktoberfest celebration. Lots of German music, videos, food, and of course, references to beer. Now, I normally do pretty well simply not thinking about the fact that I'm in a dry village with no access to a nice cold brew, but singing songs about beer, watching movies about beer, and toasting with (root) beer was just plain mean.

To the right here is our buddy Trent...apparently the decorations proved too realistic to resist :-)

But really, it was a lot of fun going to a celebration of German culture in the middle of the tundra. Most of the cultural activities up here (obviously and rightly so) are native activities, and it was fun showing off a little bit of European/western/whatever culture that didn't involve the NBA, 50-Cent, or whatever else people here see on cable. Sara and I even got to polka...briefly. And there's a video of a bunch of the teachers doing the chicken dance, which I may hold onto as blackmail material for a later date...muhaha!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Well, since it seems to work...

That first little video seemed to work ok, so here's a little video I put together from the throw party last week. Enjoy!

video

Trying out this embedded video thing....

video

Friday, October 5, 2007

Since there's no place to go...

Yeah, the forecast says snow this afternoon and tomorrow morning! Not sticking, of course, but still. Woohoo!! Been in winter coat and gloves walking to school the last couple days...I know I'm a freak for saying this, but it feels good. Even if we are a little bit confused on how to do the snowbird thing...winters in Alaska and summers in hot, muggy Wisconsin...yeah, we're not-so-bright.

But snow! Woohoo!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Party time, excellent...

There's this really cool tradition up here called a "throw party"...basically what it is, is that when a lady or a female member of your family reaches a big life milestone, you invite all the other ladies in the village over and toss gifts, essentials, and random stuff to everyone off your roof/porch/whatever. From what we are told, it apparently originated out of a mix of celebration, a sense of community sharing, and also a little bit of bragging (hey, look at how cool I am, I can afford to throw all my stuff to you all, cuz I can just go get more!) Really, it all just adds up to a good time for the ladies...not to mention a little bit of elbow-sharpening and jockeying for position :-P

So, apparently, last spring Sara had discussed this all with a woman whose granddaughter had an occasion coming up over the summer (picking her first berries! woo!!), and they decided that in the fall, after we were all married up and back to the village, they'd do kind of a joint throw. Well, this all went down last week, and it was a lot of fun to watch.

There was definitely a lot of "boxing out" and trying to get good spots, and the windy conditions made for some interesting throws on lighter items. Also, unfortunately there were a few injuries (kitchen knives...yes, packaged, but still pointy...and large rubbermaid items were the culprits), but everyone seemed to have a grand old time.

I'll let Sara further elaborate on the whole story on her blog at some point, but I just wanted to post a pic (and maybe a video, once I get it off the camera and formatted), and let you know what we've been up to...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Seriously.

It's been raining for two weeks straight. And looking at the forecast, it's supposed to rain for another week, at least. At this point, we'll be able to just boat to school in the morning.

But on the bright side, if it was a couple months from now and this was snow, the snowmobiling would be awesome.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Just keep truckin' on...

Well, we're already in the middle of September, eh? Well then...this semester is fixing to fly right by. Cool.

Was looking through some of the pictures Sara took in the spring, and noticed there was a good one of our new house from the front. So, I figured I'd include it to give a little frame of reference for what I've been raving about...the closets, windows, actual kitchen, etc. So yeah, this is our house.

Also, I wanted to post a link to a blog my brother started. For those of you who don't know my brother, he's an EMT/Paramedic/Firefighter/jack-of-all-emergency-trades, and he recently moved down from Wisconsin to Arizona for a job as a Flight Paramedic on one of the major EMS helicopter services in the Southwest. If you want to check in with him and see some cool pictures of the desert/mountains/helicopters (and an interesting climate counterpoint to this blog...seriously, my parents must be wondering how one of their sons ended up moving to one of the hottest spots in the country, and the other up to friggin' Alaska), check out his blog.

Otherwise, not really too much to update from up here. Weather's been about the same, except for the wind really kicking up lately. Days in the 50s, night down to maybe 40. Losing a lot of light, though. Pretty soon we'll be down from sunset at 11:00 when we got here to it being dark when we leave work after school. So it goes, so it goes. Looking forward to freeze-up, though.

Hoping to get out for an adventure of some sort here soon...itching to do some fishing. So I might have an actual interesting update for you soon...with "might" being the operative word.


*note - I fixed the link (thanks Patty)...I was just checking the specs on the endline for the rotary....girder......I'm retarded.*

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Looooong Weekend

And not just because of the holiday.

We've both been down sick since, oh, last week sometime. I went home sick Wednesday afternoon, went to the clinic, found out I had strep. Good times. Plus, I think whatever shot it was they gave me for an antibiotic kicked my butt...I've had a screaming headache since, and that was almost a week ago at this point.

*whine*

Sara started out the opposite, with the flu-ish symptoms, and now she's getting the sore throat. She tested negative for strep last week, but I think she's going to go in today and get re-tested. I guess if there's anything you can say about the two of us, we're definitely good at sharing :-P

Hopefully we can move past it and get back on track this week. We were really a pitiful sight this weekend, just lying around the house, alternately napping, drinking tea, and watching TV for three days. Woohoo.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Silly Geese

Did you watch Dirty Jobs last night?!?

If not, and you want to see what it looks like up here, catch a repeat. The episode is titled "Wild Goose Chase". They had some pretty good shots of Bethel and the tundra and what it looks like flying around up here, etc.

Only thing that bothered me was that they kept referring to the area as the "Yukon Delta" instead of the "Yukon-Kuskokwim" Delta. Though, I guess that is the name of the refuge, so I can see why they'd be confused, but still...give the Kusko some props! I think one of the wildlife guys said "Y-K delta" once, so I was happy.

We were laughing at the camera guys who kept getting stuck, but seriously...who hasn't gone up to their knees in the muck a least once? And we thought the description of walking on the tundra as like walking on a waterbed was pretty accurate. Now if it would only get cold and freeze again, then we could bust out the snowmachine and start zipping around :-)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Frozen Stormy Tundra

While sitting around, working hard at doing nothing on Saturday afternoon, I started to notice that I was hearing a familiar rumble outside. What made it unusual, though, was the fact that there's hardly ever real thunderstorms out here. I was a little confused, because I was looking out the front window, seeing blue sky and sunshine, but all of a sudden it started to downpour...without the sunshine going away. So I went over to the kitchen window that looks in the opposite direction, and this is what I saw.

Huzzah for tundra thunderstorms!

There was even a funnel cloud in Bethel last week...a cold air funnel, and nothing too exciting, but still!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Oh! Almost forgot!

Some folks have been asking how our beer experiment ended up going. Well, the reviews were generally positive, and Sara and I both really enjoyed it and thought that all in all, it went pretty darn well. So we're looking forward to getting right back at it whenever we get the chance (unfortunately, it has to wait 'til we're back in Wisconsin...we live in a dry village up here, for those of you just tuning in), and trying some darker, more complex, more dangerous brews :-P

That's one thing we're finding out about homebrewing...once you start, you're hooked. And for every batch of beer you make, you come up with a dozen ideas for more beers you want to make. I'm not sure if I'll have enough time over Christmas break, but I'm already dreaming about what would happen if I tried infusing a cream stout with a little bit of peppermint leaf...

Back in the Saddle

Well, here we are, back in the village, back in school, back at it. It's amazing the things you can forget in a month or two. Like how nice the sunsets are (not to mention how late, and how long they last...when the sun's moving at crazy angles, it seems like sunset lasts an hour and a half sometimes!)

We're finishing up our first week of school today, and I'm actually feeling pretty good about the year so far. My mornings consist of being an in-class aide for some math classes being taught from the District Office by teleconference. As long as I stay on top of things, I think my mornings will go pretty well and be fairly low on the stress meter. My afternoons, on the other hand, could get interesting. I've got the whole Junior High (mind you, that's only about 25 kids total), split into two classes for Keyboarding/Computers. Mind you, there's no curriculum...I'm making it up as I go along. So that could get interesting. Added into the mix, I've got a P.E. class. Yeah. Try to contain your laughter.

As far as everything else goes...lemme see...

Getting settled into our new house. It's so nice to have an actual house this year, as opposed to the ex-classroom we were living in last year. Now we have rooms! With doors! And even closets, too! And more than one window! And more than 6 inches of counter space! It's the lap of luxury, let me tell ya :-P

Speaking of luxury...we've even been able to watch the last two Packer preseason games, seeing as the second was a Seattle game, and the Seahawks are our local NFL market, and last night's game was nationally televised on Fox for some reason. I think I've already seen as many packer games this season as I did all of last season. And they're on nationally I think 5 times during the regular season, too! Thank goodness for that stretch of the Thanksgiving Lions game and then the NFL Network!

What else, what else...hmm. Loki's loving it being back up here. Back to swimming and frolicking and jumping off of docks. I'm never sure how much he really remembers of people and places, or if he's just good at getting comfortable as long as we're there with him, but something interesting happened when we got back. He got out of the house when we opened the door one of the first days we were back, and he immediately ran out of our new house, over to our old place, and across the boardwalk to where his friend Bailey lived last year. Unfortunately, Bailey and his owner Christina have moved to Oscarville for this year, so Loki didn't get to go in and play, but I thought it was cool that he remembered where Bailey lived and ran right there...I guess his memory is pretty good.

And with that, I think I'm out of stuff to share at the moment...that, and I need to go to class. Hope all's well, and talk to you all again soon!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

On the ball...sort of

Just because I feel like I can't really move along on this blog until I give you guys some wedding pic fodder, here we go...maybe I can be persuaded to post some party pics later on, but for now I'm sticking to the formal pictures of the main players. Honestly, it's 'cuz most of you out there either have yourself or have at least seen a lot of the pictures from the reception...even those of you who were there and have...ahem...fuzzy recollection of the evening :-P


Here's the wedding party, in all it's glory. Note the sober groomsmen and clean, intact dresses...it was all downhill from this point.



The MacDonald family shot from before the ceremony...



...and the Przybylskis. We're not much for family portraits, and certainly not much for the tuxes, so enjoy it!



And here's the happy couple. Mind you, I chose this one to post for a specific reason, aside from the fact that I like the bridge. You see, Sara's an inch taller than me already, and with the heels she was wearing...well...in most of the pictures I look like a munchkin. Here at least I get a little boost. Hey, it's my blog, I make the rules!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hoyey!

It has been brought to our attention by our friend Sara (whose dad runs the friendly neighborhood National Wildlife Refuge), that the episode of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe that was filmed in the area will be broadcast next Tuesday, the 28th. So if you watch Dirty Jobs, or just want to see what it's like up here in this neck of the continent, be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back in the Village...just a quick note

Woo! Got home yesterday late morning, took a nap, started the unpacking/settling in process...good times. Phone line wasn't transfered over like it was supposed to be my now, but it should be today...if I was supposed to call you when I got home, sorry!

I have a lot of backed-up posting (not to mention email) to catch up on, for sure...but it'll be a day or two until we're settled in enough to really make that a priority. But it'll get there. Oh, and FYI...we're back on filtered internet, which means no Facebook, no Myspace, no MSN Messenger for a while. So if you want to find me, drop me an email, comment here, or dust off the ol' AOL Messenger (AIM) if you have it...my contact name is 'przybby'.

Anyway, just wanted to say hi and let y'all know what's up. More to come, of course :-)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

So...what's new with you?

Not much here, really since the last time I posted.

Oh wait.

I guess I did, like, get married and stuff. I suppose if you're being picky, you could count that as a "blog post worthy" event. The party certainly was so. The stories...and the pictures! Once I have enough of them in my grubby little hands to pick out the best, I'll be sure to post some, I promise.

Let's see, what else? Our batch of beer is bottled and conditioning...should be ready to drink right about when it's time for us to head back to AK this weekend...so sounds like a good excuse to have a party and get everyone to help us drink the 2 cases, right?

Right now we're just in boxing/packing/preparing mode...a few more days and it's back up to the soggy tundra! More (and more thorough) posts to be had then, rest assured :-)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Summer Project

As if planning a wedding wasn't enough of a project, we'd decided that we wanted to try brewing some beer this summer. You know, for fun. You see, if there's one thing Sara and I have in common (and trust me, there are more than a few), it's being into the whole DIY, "let's see if we can do X", "why buy X if we can make it better ourselves" kind of thing. Plus, homebrewing sounded like fun, and who doesn't like beer??

We figured out last weekend that if we got a batch started this week, we could actually get it done, bottled, conditioned and maybe even partially drank (with a little help from friends....hint hint!) before we head back up for the school year, so on Tuesday we stopped by the local brew shop and got our supplies, and Wednesday night we got a-brewing:


Getting the grist in the bag and ready to mash...notice the bottle of Central Waters on the counter and the empty sixer of Sam Adams in the background. What, are we supposed to work without inspiration??


Sara took this pic of me checking the temp of the mash...she thinks I look like an evil scientist.


Boil...boil, my precious wort!


Here's where we thought we had a problem. We finished brewing and got everything in the fermenter around midnight Wednesday night. Yesterday when I checked, the airlock was bubbling like crazy, so I knew the fermentation was going strong...but then this morning there was nothing! I watched for 5 minutes and didn't see a single bubble, so I thought something had gone wrong...most things I read said the fermentation should last about a week or so...but when I went to the brew shop to pick up a couple things today and asked the beerlady, she said it's possible that with the weather a little warmer, it might be done that quickly. Hmm. So I took a reading and whatdayaknow! Just about right!


Well jeez, we wouldn't want to waste that baby beer we had to take out for the test, now would we?? (Yes, Sara had just gotten out of the shower...a clean brewer is a happy brewer!)

Next, we get the liquid gold into the secondary fermenter, let it sit and mellow for a while, and then bottle 'er up! We'll let you know how it goes, that's for sure. But in the meantime, I think we've found a new hobby :-)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Even more random summer pics...

So our summer place...with the fenced back yard...oh yes, Loki is a big fan. He had a run-in with a bird the other day, so now his big thing is to hang out under this one specific tree, waiting for another bird to magically drop into his clutches. If one doesn't he tries to climb the tree...or dances on his back legs trying to reach the branches. Yeah, we never said he was particularly smart.


All the running around outside this summer requires adequate hydration, of course.


So we were out on a boat ride up north this past weekend, and we came across a flotilla of pontoon boats having soe kind of battle with big hoses and spraying water. Looked like a lot of fun, actually...it was pretty durn hot.


Just in case you've ever wondered what would happen if you stuck your camera lens into an empty beer bottle and took a picture...now you know.


Loki made a couple new friends today. Our friend Liz's dog Riggs (the Golden) was really, um, friendly...and then another guy came along where we were hanging out on the river and had a Doberman he was teaching to swim. So it was a big ol' dog party on the river.


Who'da thunk it...there ARE actually fish on this part of the river! Learn something new every day, I guess...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Random Summer Pics

My nephew's going to be a left-handed reliever. Or at least a utility infielder.


I think Loki likes the heat even less than we do.


We had a shower. It was fun.

Friday, June 15, 2007

So what have we been up to this summer?

Oh, a bunch of wedding planning....

And a little bit of this.

Ain't we cute? :-)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Summertime...

...and the livin' is easy.

So as you have likely deduced by now, there will probably be a limited few number of posts this summer on my Alaska blog, due to the fact that we're not, you know, in Alaska.

I may update here and there to post pics and let you know what's up...there's plenty going on, of course. Between wedding planning (not to mention the actual wedding), seeing people, catching/stocking up on stuff that I can't do during the school year, ya know...it should be a really, really fun summer.

And we'll certainly be doing a lot of this
<---------------------------------

Friday, June 1, 2007

Weeeee!

So. After a truly hectic few days, here we sit at gate C3, waiting for our flight from Anchorage to the middle of the Middle-west, stomachs full of good food and maybe a couple beers :-P

See you in a few time zones!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Air Lab

So now that school's over and our days are filled with sleeping in and packing endless boxes, we've had a bunch of time to procrastinate take Loki swimming. We've even got him into dock-jumping. He was leery when we started...the first couple times he'd only do it once, and then only go in from shore the rest of the day...but once he got used to it and figured out how to keep his head mostly above water when he dives in, he loves it. Absolutely can not get enough. Check it out:



Now we just have to find a nice dock when we get home to WI this weekend :-P