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!