Monday, December 29, 2008

Xmas Break So Far (in Varying Poetic Forms)

Travel (McWhirtle)

The airplanes and jetways
are never the problem,
it's just getting airborne
in spite of the fog.

And so as I shouted
while sprinting the tarmac,
"Just screw my blue luggage
and load the damn dog!"


First week Back (Haiku)

Beer and cigarettes
Nights at Joe's Bar on the Square
Like I never left


Weather (Fib)

Wind,
Snow,
More snow.
Roads are bad,
But the plows aren't out:
Waiting to make holiday pay.


Christmas (Limerick)

As the holiday season inspired us
To be social and festive and pius,
Clan Mac drove up North,
Where we all waddled forth,
To the can with a mean norovirus.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rougher in Alaska!

So being the giant nerds that we are, Sara and I listen to a lot of Public Radio. Mind you, this is the only radio station we get, and even if it wasn't, our radio dial is broken, stuck on 640am, so it wouldn't matter. But even so, we both listened to a lot of Public Radio before we were up here, so it's fine by us. Anyways, for those of you back in the lower 48, let me explain a little about our ...eclectic...local station. It's a mix of the following:

1. Standard NPR programs we all know and love (Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Cartalk/WWDT/Prairie Home Companion/whatever else on the weekends)

2. Local programming like area news/events/weather, along with some very regional "traditional" stuff (like the Birthday Call-In show at 3:30 every day, where people can just call in and wish friends and family a happy birthday, and which, considering local phone etiquette, can be quite humorous). Not to mention locally-programmed music shows that are as crazy and varied as the folks who live here...Reggae one night, Techo the next. Kinda like large scale college radio, now that I think of it. The Thirsty Thursday Show was EPIC in its coolness (where else do you hear Kris-Kross, David Allen Coe, and G'n'R played back to back on Public Radio, with the swear words usually "accidentally" not bleeped?) but alas, is no more, as the hosts moved away from Bethel this fall.

3. Alaska Public Radio programs, including state news reports and all the regular stuff you'd expect from state public radio stations, but one show in particular has really grown on me. It's a show called simply AK, and every week is a treat. This past week's episode had a little comedy bit thrown in at the end making fun of all the Alaska-based reality shows that have popped up on cable in the last few years, and Sara and I enjoyed it so much I had to download, clip, and find a way to post it on here for you to enjoy. I ended up just using the audio in front of a picture and uploading as a video, so watch for a special (and apropos) cameo by our own favorite 2nd grade teacher ;-)

video

Friday, December 5, 2008

Time to get a Blackberry?

Cell phone coverage has made it to the village!

Tundra Drums: Cell phones the latest rage in Bush Alaska

So far, we can get a signal on Sara's pre-paid phone she bought in Anchorage last spring while she was there waiting for Isaac to arrive, but we can't actually use it as we're not on the same plan. We get 3 bars of signal, but the display reads "emergency use only". Still, it's good to know that it works in an emergency. As for my phone, it's on the Sprint network, so it's still useless 'til I get down to the lower 48.

But if GCI has brought a cell signal to Nunap, might internet be close behind? We can only hope...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Like a furry, grey marshmallow

So I rarely post pictures of myself here, not because I'm shy or anything, but because I'm usually the one taking the pictures...but here I am last night.

The weather shifted earlier this week, with the temp climbing 50 degrees (from -15F to 35F), and winds gusting to 40 mph bringing moist air and snow. Of course, as I watched the wind whip the wet snow into soggy drifts around our house...all while losing sight of all but the nearest neighbors' houses...I decided it would be a good idea to cover up our snowmachine, which I had stupidly left uncovered after returning from Bethel. Unfortunately, I had to wait until Sara got home (it was a little too stormy out to bring Isaac out to play in the snow), so by the time I got out there, the machine was pretty well drifted in. I swept it off, covered it, and bungeed the cover down (considering snow seems to sneak under the cover when it's windy), and Sara was kind enough to snap a picture as I came in the door.

Had it been a few degrees colder my face would have been solid ice, but luckily it was just covered in slush...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Trails

You know, it's amazing how much of a difference a little less drifting can make.

I took advantage of the long Thanksgiving weekend to take a ride into Bethel on Saturday to pick up some groceries and a new mattress for Isaac (he's gotten too good at climbing to be just in the co-sleeper at night). The plan worked out well, as a few of our neighbors flew in early to visit the craft fair, and the husband of one of the fliers wanted to ride along, as he had never been into Bethel by snowmachine, so I didn't have to ride alone.

Last year, the trail was so rough from the light snow and windy weather that the 26.3 miles from my front door to the AC store was anywhere from a 2 to 3 hour ride, most trips. The best we did all last year was to run a pace that would have gotten us there in around an hour in the early spring when the weather was warm and the trail was flat and slick, but unfortunately the warm weather and our...aggressive pace...caused my co-traveler's machine to give out (to the tune of a couple new pistons and cylinders :-/ )

This year so far, knock on wood, the trail is much better. I don't know if it was the early freeze or how much snow we've had so far, but the trail was better Saturday than it was at any point last year. We made it in only an hour and fifteen minutes, which is pretty darn fast considering it was Jim's first time on the trail. Even heading back pulling a mattress and boxspring on the school sled, we got back in less than an hour and a half. That is, minus a tail light (from sled impact) and a chain clip pulled apart like a paper clip (from the weight of the sled), of course.

Unfortunately, it's been snowing and crazy windy for the past few days, so the trail could be wrecked by now. I guess I'll find out next time I go riding :-P

Sounds like someone was going "Into the Wild"

Fairbanks News-Miner: Brooks Range hiker rebuked for rescue

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gotta start him early!

This is what happens when you combine geeky parents, Saturday morning, and access to polkas.

Poor little guy.

video

Friday, November 21, 2008

Five. Five-dolla. Five-dolla foot longs.*

*(Unless you're in Bethel. Then they are nine-dolla foot longs)

Well! What's new here, you ask?

Not too much. Can not believe we're coming up on December and the end of the semester already! Maybe it's because I've been at home with Isaac and not teaching, but this year is just flying by. We'll see how next semester goes once I'm...knock on wood...back to working part time (or maybe even full time? Rumors are afoot...)

I got to make a surprise trip into Bethel last weekend. It's actually kind of funny, because on Sunday morning while we were watching the Packer game, Sara made a joking suggestion that I snowmachine into Bethel to get Subway. You see, Subway is the only national-type chain within a good 450 miles, and sometimes the lure of the TV advertising does its job. I, of course, replied to her suggestion in the negative, stating that with the trail conditions as they were, it would be 4 hours until I returned with her sandwich, by which time she would have surely eaten something else. We considered the matter tabled.

Well, little did I imagine that later that day, we would receive a call about our Principal being stuck in Bethel due to weather and planes not flying, and asking if I'd be interested to ride in and help pick him and his bags up. Of course, having yet to get out and "stretch my legs" farther than to Kasigluk so far this winter, I jumped at the chance. The trail had actually improved a little bit due to a few inches of light, fluffy snow that fell over the weekend (and without wind to drift it about), and we made it in at a decent pace...about an hour and 15 minutes.

So we picked Garry up, made it back before 9 (which was a plesant surprise, considering we didn't leave 'til after 5), and Sara ended up getting her Subway after all.

Thanksgiving in Wasilla...

Ah, our classy Governor. Is there anything she can't ruin?



Best quote: "(sarcastically)...certainly we'll get criticism for even doing this!"

She truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Loooong weekend?

It's been a little odd around here this week. Sara's been home all week sick...well, home sick Monday and Tuesday by choice, and then yesterday and today because they sent her home Wednesday because her eye looked kinda funky. She went to the clinic today, more out of a desire to get the ok to go back to work, I think, but ended up "winning the clinic game" as she called it: mild eye, sinus, and ear infections, strep throat, and a cold on top of all that. So yeah, how Ike and I have managed not to really get sick (yet...knock on wood), I don't know.

As a side effect of having Sara home today, I had a few hours to poke around and retroactively apply "labels" to all the posts on this blog, all the way back through 2006. For some reason, the labels aren't showing up on the posts themselves, but the menu on the right should work if for some reason you ever wanted to go back and narrow down to all the entries I ever wrote about Loki, or snowmachining, or posts with video or anything like that.

Now if only I could post more often, eh?

Another link (with bonus rant)

Gentle reader, I hope you don't mind that many of my posts this year have been links to articles about our lovely state. It's just that we've been in the news, not to mention the lower 48's public consciousness, lately for some reason, and let's face it...the articles by the real, actual "writers" of the liberul media elite do a much better job than I ever could.

So! In that vein, here's an article from the ADN today about our use of wind power here in Kasigluk/Nunap:

Our view: Wind at work

Quite interesting to me, in that I think it provides a little bit of a roadmap to the viability and the way renewable energy is finally going to get traction in this country, at least in my humble and unenlightened opinion. Having less to do with concern about climate change, environmentalism, and worry about our "carbon footprint" (garbage disposal here consists of hauling trash out to a designated "dump" area on the tundra and setting it ablaze on occasion), and more about simple economic self interest. If wind turbines can generate energy in a local economy dealing with $7+ per gallon heating fuel, then hell yeah, we're on it.

Not that things like this would necessarily happen without the "pork" that Alaska gets from the Federal Government...you know, like the "Bridge to Nowhere". Sorry, venting again. I'm getting a little sick of reading all the Alaska-bashing on some of the lefty political blogs I frequent. Haha, we're still counting votes because they're arriving on dogsled...haha, we're all idiots who voted for a convicted felon...haha, we all want to "drill baby drill", shoot wolves from helicopters, and think we have foreign policy experience because we're by Russia. Well guess what, we need some of that "pork" because many places in this undeveloped state still are missing basic infrastructure like roads and plumbing. And those backwards, hillbilly rural voters whose votes they're now counting, more than a week after the election because the dogsled just arrived? Yeah, they just put Begich ahead of ConvicTed Stevens, even though we know not having Uncle Ted in the Senate will probably lead to less money and slower development out here. Yeah, you're welcome.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Haha!

What is up with all this national media attention lately out here??

Wall Street Journal - Are These the Shortest Commercial Flights in the U.S.?

Note to readers...as the person re-doing the school's website (at a snail's pace, admittedly), don't count on that link to the dog sleds working for long ;-)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Unfortunately, she is my Governor, so I must keep mocking her.

Copy-pasted, because I'm the laziest blogger ever:

From the Urban Dictionary:

Palin

  1. An applicant lacking even basic job skills
  1. Someone supremely un-self-aware or lacking any relative sense of what he/she does or doesn't know.

HR sent me another Palin for the marketing manager job.

Palin v.

  1. to abandon one's principles for short term gain

Tom, a devout vegan, palined when he consumed a happy meal solely to obtain the collectible toy it contained.

Palin n.

  1. Pejorative term that refers to an incompetent, impractical, irrelevant or incapable person who has been appointed to a position of great importance.
  1. A person who holds authority disproportionate to his or her requisite ethics and qualifications. Derived from John McCain's controversial 2008 Vice Presidential pick, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

John was recently made principal, but everybody thinks he's a Palin who can't do the job.

My new boss is such a Palin - he took my deserved place because the CEO is
his personal friend.


This list, however, I compiled over the course of the last 2 months...some of the funnier nicknames I've spotted for our illustrious Governor (in no particular order):

Caribou Barbie

Snowbilly

Bible Spice

Nanookie of the North

The Disasta from Alaska

Mooselini

Brain to Nowhere

Iditabroad

The Wicked Witch of Wasilla

Jane Six-Pack

Jane Winebox

Sideshow Moosetits

Sarah Flailin'

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Election Day post

Okay, I'll readily admit I'm a big geek for politics (among other things, of course), so election days are pretty much like Christmas, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick's Day and Trivia all rolled up into one. We did it up right yesterday, with a family voting adventure and a party to watch results come in until late in the evening. Plenty of comments I could make about what voting here was like, not to mention the amazing results nationally and some not-so-cool state level results, but for now lets just take a look at some scenes from the day that was:


video

This is a video I cut together quickly from what I shot yesterday when we went to vote...sorry if it's a little Blair-Witch-y at the beginning, I'm just no good at the walking and the shooting.



Outside our polling place...



Isaac got to celebrate the event by getting his first solid food - avocados! There's video of this somewhere, too...I may spare you that.



Sara showing off the Obama Victory Cake I made...did I mention I'm a huge nerd? But we figured if we couldn't celebrate with beer...



Yeah, we party like rock stars here in Nunap.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Stay tuned...

Busy busy election day...but stay tuned for a video and pics of Isaac's first election and the party to follow. Once I get a chance to edit and upload everything...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

See what happens?

I hope when Sara thought about the ramifications of leaving Isaac home alone with her intrepid, loving, handsome husband (and his downloaded sports-talk radio) every day, she took into consideration the things he might be learning...

video

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Action Shots


So last night Isaac wanted to play in a box. All was well, fun was being had. So much fun, in fact, that he got excited and started rocking back and forth, squealing with joy, as the next picture shows. You can guess what happened next...



Notice the far end of the box a good 4 inches off the ground. Kudos to the picture timing by mama...as appoximately .2 seconds later there was a minor thud on the carpet, and a brief moment of crying...and then immediate return to merryment :-P

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today's midmorning NWS update.

KUSKOKWIM DELTA-
INCLUDING...BETHEL...HOOPER BAY...NUNIVAK ISLAND
1030 AM AKDT WED OCT 15 2008
.NOW...

THE KUSKOKWIM DELTA INTERIOR AND THE BETHEL AREA IS REPORTING BELOW
NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND RATHER BLUSTERY WINDS WITH WIND CHILLS OF 5
TO 10 BELOW ZERO. THE FORECAST THROUGH MID AFTERNOON IS FOR SUNNY
SKIES WITH A FEW AREAS OF COASTAL CLOUDINESS THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON.
TEMPERATURES IN TEENS AND LOW 20S WARMING INTO THE 20S TO NEAR 30.
MOSTLY NORTH WIND TO 15 MILES AN HOUR EXCEPT GUSTY TO 30 MILES AN
HOUR ALONG THE COASTAL SECTIONS.



Now that's some October weather!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Goodness!

My oh my, Alaska's a hot topic lately...

BBC: Alaska village faces eroded future

Newtok's a village in our school district, over on the coast (obviously)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

If you've ever wondered...

...about why we're living in a dry village up here, and just what that means, read this:

Bootleggers Playing Hide-and-Seek on the Tundra - New York Times, 10/12/08

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Hijinx

Now that our area rug has arrived, making our living room floor a little more, well, "traction-friendly", Isaac's been working on his forward mobility. It's not exactly what you'd call "crawling" just yet, but he can definitely get where he wants to go, even if it takes a while. Good thing for me, he isn't camera shy...in fact, it's one of his favorite things to try to play with:

video

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hunt for White October

A fine greeting this was this morning! It kept snowing and blowing all day, too...and it's supposed to go all night as well. The bad news is it's so windy (>30mph), that most of the snow is just blowing away. Not that it's likely to stick around anyway, I'm sure there's at least a couple more days near 40 degrees in our near future (if not in the forecast) before real winter sets in.

Same goes for the river...there's ice on the far side, but I doubt it'll last. If only because it's too early for people to put their boats away, and as such will keep breaking it up to get across.

But yeah, just wanted to drop a quick post to say I hope you Wisconsin folk are enjoying your 60-whatever degree weather....I could be snowmobiling in a month ;-)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Another first

I know, just about everything that happens in an (almost) 5-month old's life is a "first", but some are deserving of a photo...

FIRST SNOW! Woohoo!!

That means first snowmachine ride can't be too far off, right? :-P

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Long, boring catch-up post.

Oof, I really have let this get away from me, haven't I? If you're still checking here, thanks...hopefully your persistence will begin being rewarded again soon. It's been a combination of lack of post-worthy things going on, the ease of just posting tiny updates on Facebook instead of trying to expand them into blog posts, and the fact that most of what I'd want to post in this election season would have been more suited for my old blog, and not this "Alaska Journal" specific blog. My days are pretty locked into a routine of bottles, diaper changes, and naps (while trying to fit in some school projects and other things where possible), but here goes a bit of a last-3-weeks roundup :-P

A day or two after my last post was the pushed-up date for my first Alaska PFD check. Woohoo! A nice little chunk of change. So, like many Alaskans, first thing I did was purchase some plane tickets. In my case, back to WI for xmas break. In order to save a few hundred dollars, we decided I would fly back a week early like I did my first year up here, so I'll be back in the midwest starting 12/14. Just in case you were wondering.

This year's check was even larger than originally expected, thanks to an additional $1200 tacked on by the legislature (supposedly at the behest of our Governor...you may have heard of her recently), for the expressed purpose of ofsetting the insane cost of living increases out here in rural Alaska, specifically the cost of energy. Well, in many cases, it's having another effect...people are just moving from the Bush into the hub cities, or even into Anchorage. In Bethel, I've even heard a term coined for it..."energy refugees". Now, I'm not up at school enough to be really "in the loop" as far as knowing exactly what's going on all that much in the community, but from what I hear, most of the moving that's going on here is for other reasons, but it seems (to my admittedly narrow perspective) that there's more people moving away from the village. It's by no means scientific, but we're appearing to fit the pattern. Shrug.

Speaking of Alaska news (how's that for a segue?), there was a story on the Anchorage news last night about people here paying more attention to the political news, blah blah blah, and how it can raise stress levels. They even interviewed a therapist who said people who are feeling overstressed by everything should know when to "take a break"...which I found a bit amusing, seeing that I did just about the exact same thing a few weeks back. I dunno, the whole selection of Palin and the lying BS of the Republican convention Alaska attention politically...my head was threatening to explode, so I just decided to stop paying attention for a couple weeks. And guess what...it worked. I managed to save my sanity and not go completely bonkers before election day. I hope.

One thing that's been interesting is all the attention Palin is bringing to Alaska politics. Some has been good, but most of it has been of the negative variety. While national scrutiny has blown open the Troopergate deal and the Stevens trial, it's also basically put the McCain campaign basically in control of state government, acing as council for the Governor and basically maneuvering the day-to-day operation of state affairs to the best benefit of the GOP presidential campaign. In the short term, it's helping Palin and McCain (even though Caribou Barbie's approval rating has gone from 82% to 68% here as news of some of her more...interesting...positions have come to light, McCain/Palin has basically locked Alaska's 3 electoral votes up at about a 15 point lead...you may think AK was going red anyway, but Obama had cut it to a 5 point deficit in August!), I think it's going to hurt Alaska's "solid red state" status long term. I mean, the state is still super "independent"-minded, plus lots of oil interests, etc...but when the newscasts every night are the latest gaffes by our ever-more-obviously imbecilic Governess, followed by daily coverage of our senior Senator's trial and our longtime Representative's scandals and poll deficit...well, let's just hope we can crack this ice yet.

Let's see, anything I'm forgetting? Oh, I had the chance to chaperone a trip to Bethel a couple weekends ago. Got to shop, eat out (gyros!), and watch some of the best cross country runners in the state. I was even able to bring back some goodies for Sara (sushi, anyone?) thanks to some miracles of scheduling right before we left. All in all, it was a good time and a nice 24-hour break.

At the moment, I'm going to keep watching the Brewer game while Isaac naps...with the Twins out of the playoffs thanks to a coin-flip and some shady dealing from MLB, and the Packers facing an uphill road to an 8-8 season thanks to brutal injuries, the Brewers are the only think I've got going at this point. And they're down 3-0 at this point in game one. Yee-haw.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Insanity

Three posts in 2 days? Has Shaun started smoking the crack? No, but something just happened that's so cool that it demanded immediate posting...

Yeah, that's a picture of 2 cold air funnel clouds. There were 3, I guess, and the big one was even larger, but by the time I heard what was happening and got outside, these were all that were left. Isaac and I still watched them for 10 or 15 minutes before they roped out. Not surprising they lasted as long as they did, considering my wind gauge at the house was reading 0.0mph all afternoon :-P

But yeah! 5 summers of storm chasing in WI and the best funnels I see are outside my house in Alaska? There's gotta be a moral to that story...

Catching up...

See? I told you I’d be back…

So what’s been going on here? Well, a whole bunch and nothing at all, if that makes any sense. A couple of weekends ago I was lucky enough to be able to chaperone a Cross Country trip to the village of Toksook Bay out on Nelson Island. I’d never been there, and had heard that it was a pretty cool place, so I really wanted to go. It was the first X-C meet of the season, and Nunap only had three runners that had gotten enough practices in to be eligible to travel, so Coach Carey didn’t necessarily need a male chaperone, but since the school had gotten a charter airplane instead of paying seat fare, my tagging along to help didn’t add to the cost of the trip :)

The races there are a part of a community-wide Berry Festival, so there were all kinds of things going on, and people visiting from all over. We went to see the traditional dancing for a little while, but for the most part the kids wanted to do what the kids always want to do when we travel…go to the store, hang out with friends from other villages, and stay up as late as possible. As it turned out, I had brought along Guitar Hero for the DS (always prepared…and I was never even a Boy Scout!), which proved quite the popular little activity with the students. At least until the battery ran out. So the rest of the nights were spent playing, reading, talking, and trying to sleep while the fiddle dance raged…if a fiddle dance can be said to rage…until 2am.

The races themselves were fun to watch. Toksook is right on the ocean, but there are some pretty substantial hills, cliffs, and rock formations, all of which the running courses took advantage of. The weather was not the best for a race, it was windy, cold, and spitting rain, but all three races went off without a hitch and the Nunap runners pushed hard and did well. As I said, it was a small group, but there wasn’t a whiner among them…which, to be honest, was a nice change of pace from most chaperoning trips I’ve done.

After staying another night, we flew back early Sunday afternoon. Our flight out on Friday had been interesting, flying low and on an indirect route around the hills because of low cloud cover, but on the way back it was clearer and we were able to fly as high as I’ve ever been in a bush plane – over 3000 feet. It made for some good views, and I was able to get my camera out and take a couple of pics as we were about to land back in Nunap.

So, while it was nice to take a little trip for a couple days, it was even nicer to get home. After all, I’m used to having a lot of baby-time these days, so I missed the little guy. I have to say, staying home during the school day has been working out pretty well. Yeah, I’m going a little crazy, and yeah, there have been some frustrating days (did I mention he has a couple of teeth already?), but on the whole it’s been a lot of fun. I try to get as much stuff done as I can during the day, both around the house and with my side projects. I’m starting a Radio Club at the school, as some of my students last year really took an interest in writing/recording/producing music, and I’m hoping to help them point some of those skills in the direction of their writing phases, expose them to some music that isn’t Tupac and 50 Cent (though, yeah, that stuff has it’s place…it’s just really all that some of them listen to), and I’m hoping to eventually get them to produce a few podcasts, in radio show format, to get them out there for everyone to hear. I’ll let you know once there’s a link…

But back to Isaac. It’s amazing how much he’s changing, getting new skills, discovering new things. I was a little worried the other day that he was getting sick, because he was sort of grabbing at the side of his head, until I realized that nope, he has just discovered his ear and was playing with it. He’s really taken quite a liking to Loki, trying to follow him around, and keeping a close eye on him whenever he’s romping around playing, or even just sleeping in the living room. I can’t wait until he’s old enough for them to play around together. I think they’re going to have a lot of fun.

Otherwise, not too much else going on. Missed the Packer game Monday night because our satellite had only been partially working for a few weeks (no ESPN, or half of our other channels), and I tried messing with the cables in a fit of desperation. The result? No TV at all, and of course the store didn’t have the hardware I need to fix pieces that had rotted from just laying on the tundra for who knows how many years. I managed to hook up a different cable Tuesday evening (the one from Carey’s house, because she doesn’t’ get TV and was nice enough to allow me to steal hers), which required a bit of monkeying around and belly crawling under her house in the muck, but at least for the moment, we have a 90% functioning TV connection. At least enough that I’ll be able to watch football this weekend…and really, isn’t that the main function of television, anyway?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Filler...but with video goodness!

Yeah, I've got a lot to catch up on (this not getting up to school and online every day thing is really messing up my blogging habits, eh?), but while you patiently wait...

video

He can do this for hours, just cycling through his toys, getting excited about whatever it is that we happen to be holding and forgetting about what he's got. So...I thought I'd film it. Sorry if it's boring, I'll admit this video probably has a very specific target audience...*cough*grandparents*cough*

K, more before the end of the week...promise!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To touch base...

Wow, 10 days since I last posted? Dizzamn. My bad.

There's been stuff going on, too. Lots of things on the fritz around the house...everything I touch seems to be breaking. Our satellite connection is only half working, my Dell laptop has a few keys now that aren't working thanks to some questionable placement and a clumsy water spill, making anything that involves typing a no-go on that computer for now, until I get a keyboard to plug into it. Not to mention various things around the house, like the heat being stuck on and window installation being...ahem...ongoing. This year is certainly starting off with a bang.

As for school, well, I'm not there. I was on the schedule for the last two hours of the day, but somehow or other they couldn't see fit to let me bring Isaac in and hand him off to Sara for the last 45 min of her day (which was going to be prep anyway)...so I'm relegated to after school duties only for this semester. A "leave of absence", officially. Yee haw.

Crazy news today, though...I got a phone call from a teacher I had in high school, who's the head of the Historical Society back in Point, and somehow he got a hold of a paper I wrote in college on the Prohibition era in Portage County, and wants to publish it. I'm flattered, but more so, I'm curious how he got a hold of it. And I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to writing, I'm never happy with what I've written...I'm sure if I went back and read it now, 7 years later, I'd want to go revise the whole thing. So I doubt I'll even look at it again, for fear of being embarrassed at what's in print with my name on it.

But still...quite a shock. Who gets randomly published? Weird.

Let's see, what else can I touch on in my random drive-by of the last week and a half? I voted today. Had no idea that as someone who is officially registered as "Unaffiliated" that I could choose which ballot to vote on, Democrat or Republican. If you know me, you know that with the really interesting primaries on the GOP side in Alaska this cycle, I had to take that ballot, just to feel like I was working some mischief :-P

More to come...including, hopefully, some pictures of random late-summer village goodness...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Back...barely.

If there was ever a perfect visual representation of how we all felt when we finally made it home Tuesday night, this is it.

To be perfectly honest, I'd rather not re-live the craptastic rest of the trip, but in the interest of give the Paul Harvey-esque “rest of the story”, I’ll go ahead and give you a run down of what happened.

So when I left off, we were hanging out for another 8 hour layover in the Anchorage airport. Which, whatever, there’s internet and Starbucks, and although we were all tired and cranky and in desperate need of showers, we were able to pass the time relatively comfortably. We got the dog checked back in and through TSA (for the 3rd time in 24 hours…most inspected. Dog. Evar.), and made our way through security and to the gate. There were, of course, a whole bunch of people we knew waiting for the same flight as us, so we had a good time catching up and chit-chatting at the gate. When it came time for us to pre-board, we were really relieved to be getting on the plane, because we knew it was packed full of all the people that were scheduled for that flight, plus all of us on the morning plane that circled and came back. JUST as we were handing the gate agent our ticket, we heard the worst sound possible…our names being called over the P.A., asking us to come to the desk.

Let me just preface this by saying I have ALWAYS had nothing but good luck with all of the Alaska Airlines staff people I’ve had contact with…compared to other airlines I’ve flown, they seem to try to go out of their way to be helpful, from the flight attendants to the desk agents to the people who answer the customer service phone lines, I’ve always been really impressed with the level of service we’ve gotten. That’s why I’ll chalk up the attitude of the person at the desk to stress, likely from a long few days of dealing with stranded Alaskans and tourists due to the volcano situation…but this one specific b!%@# was just plain rude. And it’s not just that she was rude, but I have the distinct feeling she was either trying to pull one over on us, or just plain lying. And if you know me at all, you probably know how I react if I feel like someone’s trying to screw me over.

So we get out of line and rush over to the desk, and of course, Sara’s already worried, stressed, and starting to cry…because really, there’s no positive reason that you can be called to the desk at that point. Well, Miss Desk Lady informs us in an accusatory manner that we had “told the airline that our dog’s kennel was a ‘400’ size when it’s actually a ‘500’”, and because there’s 7 dogs on the flight and not enough room, we need to purchase a new kennel from the airline (at their inflated price, of course), or not be allowed to get on the plane. Yeah, you can imagine the reaction that caused. FIRST of all, when we first flew with this kennel 2 years ago, we HAD ALASKA AIRLINES MEASURE IT to tell us what size it was and what we needed to pay to transport it. SECOND of all, when we’ve booked or flights since, we’ve told them it was an extra large kennel. Is there even a size larger that we could book it as? And what’s with this “400” and “500” business? When I asked her these questions, she wouldn’t (or couldn’t) tell me.

Well, upon first hearing the situation, and Miss Desk Lady’s attitude, Sara got really upset, which set Isaac off crying (not that it took much at this point), and I just about lost it…enough to be willing to fight a little bit not to get bowled over, anyway. I’m not sure if she was expecting us just to say ok, we’ll pay for a smaller kennel, and then pay to have our regular kennel shipped, or if she thought we’d just choose to spend ANOTHER 12 hours in the Anchorage airport, but I wasn’t about to do either until I was sure it was absolutely necessary. Long story short, there was another guy there that had two dogs in large kennels, and he took pity on us (or just wanted to quiet the couple with the crying baby) and offered to combine his two dogs into one kennel. This shut Desk Lady up, and she said that could work, but continued to be snotty with us, telling us that thanks to this guy “stepping up”, we could go ahead and get on the plane. Funny thing is, after all that, when we all got to Bethel the guy’s two dogs were in separate kennels, so no rearrangement or new kennels were even needed in the first place.

Aaaanywho, we made it to Bethel in one piece, got all our stuff (which was a relief, as I thought for certain the general mess in ANC, plus with the Bethel flights messed up that day, would have made for some lost bags), and over to JP for the charter home. JP was grumpy as usual, but he’s good and likes dogs, and with the cost of seat fares these days the charter’s not really that much more expensive. Plus, he stayed open for us (as well as another couple we know that had chartered to Quinhagak), which he didn’t really NEED to do. We couldn’t get a hold of anyone by phone to let them know we were on our way, which was a little stressful (to one of us, anyways), but we took off and got home and got a ride from the (new and improved!) airstrip just fine, making it home around 10pm…making for a total travel time of about 37 hours, personal records for both of us.

As for the rest of the week, there’s been a lot of unpacking, cleaning, organizing, etc. We returned to a few surprises at home, including a new floor in our living room (linoleum? I liked our carpet…), and one new window and our bedroom window completely boarded up. Sounds like some classy Nunap youth(s) were going around throwing rocks through windows in teacher housing over the summer. So after cleaning broken glass out of our bed as well as Isaac’s, washing sheets, as well as cleaning up after the folks who were doing “repairs” around the house (picking nails out of the carpet…I even found another two today :-/), we finally got to bed. Hey, at least the boarded up window means it’s dark in our bedroom, right?

School’s a whole ‘nother issue. I’ll probably post on that situation once it’s resolved. Basically, I have no idea yet if I’ll be working at all this semester, and the semester starts Monday. So yeah, to be continued…

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hanging out with Ted

After dodging ash clouds on the flight from Chicago to Anchorage last night, pulling our usual 8 hour overnight layover in baggage claim with the dog (left), and boarding our flight to Bethel on time, I was just about to breathe a sigh of relief that the latest installment of the migration was complete, or at least near-complete, without too much of a hitch.

That'll show me for even letting the thought creep into my head.

Isaac decided about halfway to Bethel that he was done with airplanes for the day. Not that I blame him, I'd pretty much had it with planes at that point as well. Or so we thought. About 15 minutes out of Bethel the pilot let us know that some pretty dense fog had rolled into the airport there, and that if it broke up enough, we'd "try" to land. Well, after making a circle or two, we tried. And waved off. And flew all the way back to Anchorage.

*sigh*

So here we sit, waiting for our second try at getting to Bethel, not leaving here til 6:45 tonight. That puts us in Bethel at 8, and our charter guy says he'll take us then. If we get there on time. If the weather's ok. So many variables, and it's not even winter yet.

I just want to get home. The thought of being stuck in Bethel tonight is unbareable. We still may just push back 'til tomorrow morning's flight if it looks like this evening's is going to be at all late. At least we can hang in baggage claim again tonight in Anchorage...no such luck in Bethel, we'd have to find somewhere we could take the dog. I just don't know if we can do another night on airport food and no sleep...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

You know what's funny?

Well I'll tell you. When someone gives you an awesome piece of baby-type-clothing, which you then look at and say "wow, I can't wait til that will fit him!" Then you decide to try it on him....and it fits just fine. Are babies supposed to grow this quickly??

So thanks to Molly and Peter (seriously...thanks Molly and Peter!!), Isaac has now officially picked a Big 12 team for his first College Football season.

Don't worry folks....he's still a Big Ten boy at heart ;-)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Place your bets...

Anyone care to lay the over/under on when Isaac's going to have a blog of his very own??

*cue trumpets*


Friday, July 25, 2008

Hee!

So Geo Beach from "Tougher in Alaska" was on the Daily Show last night...and Jon Stewart even made a reference to teachers!

Yeah, I'm a geek...but I'm totally nerdy for Jon Stewart. Not as bad as Sara though...I think she has a bit of a crush :-P

Watch it here!

BTW, if you've never watched "Tougher in Alaska" on the History Channel, you should. The actually do a lot of filming in rural Alaska...even out in our neck of the woods a few times! Some shows just focus on the "touristy" areas around Anchorage and Southeast...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Details

Well, considering all the putzing I've been doing with my page layout here in the last couple of days, I figured I'd better post an actual entry, lest the flashiness be for nothing ;-)

It's been a busy last week or so, what with all the back-and-forth, errands, seeing people, and knocking things off our "to do while in Point for the summer" list. Lets see, what have we done in the last week? Ate Barb's stroganoff, went out for our first anniversary, played some "Rock Band", played some Settlers, saw the Bambergs, met up with a Pointer that's headed up to LKSD for the first time this fall, got to the University Archives to dig through the 1880 Census, got an appointment set up for a tattoo, saw my brother, went shopping in Appleton, hung out at a mini-style family reunion, bought some books, checked out some books, watched some nice storms, drank some nicer beer, got some brewing supplies, got to Belt's, visited Democratic Party HQ, and basically had a whole lot of fun...even if it was hard to catch a breath. And there's still plenty left to do and people left to see in the last 2-and-a-half weeks!!

Isaac's been a trooper through the past week of fun. He's used to a certain...well...let's just say prolific amount of napping during any given day. As of course, he should be (and trust me, Sara and I appreciate every last minute of it). Alas, between car rides and window shopping, Main Street adventures and getting cuddled by aunts, great-aunts, and grandmas, his napping schedule has been a little thin. While this usually makes for a little later wake-up time in the morning (yay!), it also makes for a little crankier baby in the evening (boo!)

Oh well, it's not like he'll have much to do come August 12th. Right? Oof.

Pictures, pictures, and more pictures

Well, apparently I've been taking and posting enough pictures this summer to require starting a second album on Facebook.

So enjoy!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Nothing to see here...carry on...


alternate title: what happens when I open photoshop at 12:30am

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Let's see if this works

In an attempt to solve my problem of posting new pictures of the rugrat mostly on my Facebook page ('cuz it's easier...and let's face it, I'm lazy), I'm just going to post a public link to the album here...hope this works:

Isaac's Facebook Album #1

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Oh, it's on now!

It's gonna be a fun fall...

Alaska Chants for Oh, Oh, Oh, Obama - HuffPo

Obama campaign establishes beachhead in Alaska - APRN (audio link)

The most self-indulgent thing you will see all day.

So it's finally happened - I've become one of those parents/bloggers. This is a one-minute video clip of my child "talking" to his stuffed animals.

I don't know what's worse, that I'm posting this....or that you'll watch it ;-)


video



Monday, July 7, 2008

Tag-Team Blogging

So yes yes, whole lot of doing and not much blogging going on this summer...so how about this for a special treat?

Sara and I have made up a video from some clips we had from taking the dogs swimming when her sister Mel was up last week...she just posted it on her blog.

So for your comic video enjoyment, check out Mel's dog Wyatt and his unusual swimming style :-)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

FU, NCLB

Yeah, 'cuz I'm sure schools in "rural" Maryland and Illinois have *way* worse problems then in the Alaska bush. Mmmhmm. Morons.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A little early, but...

Happy 4th of July, everyone!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Late-June Update

Not to break up my string of picture-posts, but no pictures today (seems like the facebook users have been getting the better end of that deal this summer, eh?), but I just wanted to post an article I read about fuel prices out in the Bush. Mostly because they interviewed one of our neighbors in Nunap for the article.

But seriously. Dude, weak.

I can't even imagine what living out there (or here, once we're back) would be like for us if we DID have to pay for our heating fuel, and if our gas needs weren't simply for "fun", boating and snowmachine-wise. As it stands, airplane seat and chartering prices have skyrocketed...making flying in for fun (or simply to get in/out) a real pain.

*sigh*

Not that I can really complain...it's everyone else in the village that has it rough. But what can I say, I'm whiney.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Well hello there

Yes yes, it's been forever. But in my defense...no, I can't say I've been that busy. Well, with baby stuff, I have, but that's in no way prevented me from posting, really. I'm just out of habit considering the summer migration and all it entails...

But yes, we got to Wisconsin just fine...the trip went pretty well, all things considered. Honestly, the biggest challenge with Isaac was the airports, not the planes. Sara and I are considering getting a jet engine installed in our bedroom. It works wonderfully at putting (and keeping) the baby asleep.

So our days back in Wisconsin have been so far filled with babyness and beer and food and family and friends. Pardon the use of the space saving crutch, but I'm sure many (most?) of you are here for pictures...so I'll get right on that...


First visit at Grandma and Grandpa's :-)


Baby's first cheese factory trip!


Big smile in the bathtub...


Loki's enjoying summer vacation too...making sure he gets his proper attention and plenty of swimming :-P


Isaac stretching out on his amazing, handmade puppy quilt. We're just picturing him dragging it around by an ear in a couple years...good thing they're triple stitched. Way to go, Mary!!!


Chillin' on the deck up north at the shack...hanging out, rockin' the hat..

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

All quiet(ish) on the western front...

So remember when I said I'd try not to let this become an exclusively baby-picture blog? Yeah, off to a smashing start, aren't I? :-P

But really, there' s so very little to report. School's out, which means we're just hanging out, getting things ready to leave for WI on Saturday...but otherwise, there's nothing to distract us from the endless joys of little 3-week old Isaac. He's even occasionally cute, as these newest (grandma-requested) pictures may be able to shed some light upon:


Surrendering in his sleep...maybe he was French in a past life?


Loki's been good around him...showing concern when he cries, otherwise leaving him mostly alone. The occasional curious sniff is about it. Just wait a couple years, dog...you'll be good pals, I'm sure.


I've really been amazed at how alert and expressive a little baby can be when he's not crying, sleeping, nursing, or otherwise occupied...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Picture dump...

Extreme close-up! Wooooooaaaaaaahhhhh! (ok, so I'm referencing Wayne's World...have I sufficiently dated myself??)


New kid on the block (there I go again)


Rockin' the camo


Baby's first life jacket!


"Oh dear...I do believe I may have soiled myself. Ever so sorry!"

Friday, May 16, 2008

Home again

We made it!

After a little bit of suspense, we did indeed make it back to Nunap on Wednesday afternoon. We were worried, because, as you may remember, the airport is on the opposite side of the Johnson River as the school and our house, and the river ice had melted just enough while we were gone to make walking/snowmachining across impossible, but not enough for the ice to actually break loose and leave, thus making crossing by boat easy. It's the "break up" season, after-all...an annual event here in the area, with all the expectation and uncertainty it involves. The tension is thick in the air...everyone's waiting to be able to get out by boat and after the birds that are flying around.

So, after discussing and wavering back and forth a little bit on Tuesday about whether to postpone travel for a few days based on river conditions, it was decided that we'd take our chances and hope that somebody'd be able to help us across. Sure enough, Matthew and Raymond were nice enough to meet us on the "across" side of the river from school. So we loaded into the boat, motored about a third of the way across the river, and then us guys got out on the river ice and pulled the boat up, in order to push it across to the next area of open water near the shore we were trying to reach. It was a little nerve-racking for this kassa'q to be pushing a boat across rotten ice, listening to the cracking and groaning underfoot and radiating out from the boat, but I had a tight grip that (I hope) would have ensured my ability to jump right in had the ice gave way. Alas, we made it to the rest of the open water, and on to the boardwalk and home. Home!

Don't get me wrong, Anchorage was great, for a bunch of reasons. But there really is no place like home, sleeping in our own bed, being able to get into our own routine with Isaac here now. Not to mention, we missed Loki :-)

The weather was fantastic for us traveling Wednesday and yesterday, too...really warm and sunny, helping to melt that river ice. Which it was such a shock to wake up this morning to find 6 inches of heavy, wet snow on the ground. Oh well, it won't last long.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Reality

Though wow, that word has a whole new meaning now, doesn't it?

First off, things are all going really well. We're getting into a groove here, learning Isaac's routine and trying to subtly impress upon him that complicated fact that light=day=awake, while dark=night=sleep. I know, I know...babies have a clock of their own. His has been just about perfectly reversed. Overall we've been doing ok, I think, with Sara, of course, being the rockstar...what with nursing being her department and all. I'm doing what I can, of course, but it's not like when the 3am feeding time comes around that I can be the one doing that particular job. I feel a little guilty, but I'm trying to channel that feeling into doing as much of everything else that I possibly can. I'm confident we'll get this whole thing mostly figured out just yet.

On another note...or rather notes...I just want to take a note to say a huge thank you to everyone for your notes, comments, emails, and facebook messages over the last few days...it's been an amazing past, oh, 10 months for Sara and I, and we've just been overwhelmed with how truly blessed we are to have such an amazing group of friends spread out across this planet. We appreciate each and every one of you :-)

Ok, I think I hear him starting to fuss...better run!


eta: Oops, almost forgot...for Karoline who'd asked in a comment a few days ago - our address in the village is PO Box 96, Nunapitchuk, AK, 99641...otherwise my parents' address in Point still works just fine! I'd have emailed you or replied directly, but I can't find a current email for you in anything I have. I suck :-(

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Check this out, eh?

You'll have to indulge this proud papa...I've definitely been in picture-taking mode!








Tuesday, May 6, 2008

More to come, but for now...

Welcome to the world, Isaac Vincent "Alek'aq" Przybylski!!!

Vital stats:

Born at 3:57pm, May 6th

Weight: 8 pounds, 2 ounces

Length: 20 inches

Cuteness: Off the charts :-D

Mom and baby are both doing great...at the moment, we're all here enjoying all the "firsts", which really, at this point, is just about everything.

More to come. You can bet your a$$ on that!