Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Whole New Perspective

Back in the day, I was a Bethel-hater. As a new-ish teacher in a village who had to come in semi-regularly for inservices, I saw it as this place that was hard to get around, expensive, and not necessarily worth the effort. If I was going to leave my comfortable little cocoon, I'd rather go into Anchorage and get some "big city" out of the deal.

And you know what? I think all that still holds true for village teachers. If you don't have a car and a place to call "home," Bethel is a hard place to visit. Cabs are expensive and kind of a pain in the ass, and the drivers look at you like you're wasting precious time when you want to take the minute required to, you know, strap your infant (TODDLER?! HOW IS MY BABY A YEAR OLD?!) and his car seat into place so, you know, they're safe in the event of an accident. Hotels are also expensive, and the selection is... well, it's varied. You can pay a lot and get good-if-quirky service, or you can pay a lot and feel like you're getting supremely ripped off.

But we're quickly discovering the "other side" of the Bethel coin. We're in town for the week, and are staying at a... yurt. An uber-yurt, actually, with a lofted bedroom and kitchen area and everything. Pics forthcoming (probably on Facebook; I think everyone who reads this is on FB at this point? You can e-mail me if you're interested but not on FB), but the only disadvantage to the Yurt is some very slow internettage. Anyway, yeah. We've got something that resembles a home, and we've *drumroll* purchased a vehicle. Suddenly, Bethel has gone from being this pain-in-the-keister place I am occasionally required to visit to being a slightly bizarre place that I'm looking forward to calling home.

Now, I don't deny that it's still a pretty harsh place for visitors. But as far as living goes... I think I can do this.

(Oh, and in case there are people reading this who haven't been following my life on Facebook and/or Twitter... I've got a new job next year, at the District Office, in Bethel. Hence the move. Also, Isaac is one year old. There, you're up to speed. Now get on Facebook. :D)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

To the Flake

For months, I've been admiring a particular kindergarten student's version of the Pledge of Allegiance... I finally got around to documenting the specifics:

I blech a leechance to the flake of the Noonighted States of the Mairca, and to the repuhpic for which it stands, one nachun, on the God, indabisbull, with liberty and justist for all.

Amen, little brother.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


This year, we have a four day weekend for our "spring break." Having not had many excursions out of the village this year, we decided what the heck, let's take a little mini-vacation.

The weather tried its best to thwart us. Snow, rain, fog, freezing rain, freezing fog... Ma Nature threw her worst at us. Small planes wouldn't fly. The JET wouldn't fly. But Our principal, his wife, Shaun and I remained naively optimistic.

It became evident that the airplane gods were not deciding in our favor. But did we let this stop us? NO! We waterproof-bundled the four adults, plus two babies (Isaac and their daughter) and hopped on snowmachines (or, in the case of the men, into sleds). A wet-but-warm ride later, we were eating dinner at an airport restaurant (or the Bethel version thereof). And that's when things got weird.

Shaun, Isaac and I headed back to the Alaska Air terminal, leaving our travel companions at the restaurant. We waited at the airport for about 15 minutes for them to follow us, but they never showed. Instead, we got a phone call... apparently the wife had suffered a serious seizure and was on her way to the hospital. We boarded the plane, sans travel buddies, much sobered by the news.

She was Medevac'ed, unconscious, into Anchorage that night, and Thursday morning we did our best to help out our friend and his young daughter (she's 5 months old). The daughter had previously been exclusively breastfed, and was not taking formula at all. I never thought I'd do it (I had never really considered it), but I offered to nurse the baby, and the dad agreed. It wasn't as weird as I thought it would be, and it felt good to help out a little one who had no clue why her mommy was no longer around to feed her. The mama's now doing much better, and the future looks bright.

We've done a little shopping (though not much... we may be moving villages this spring and are trying not to accumulate much stuff) and, this morning, went to the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. It was cool, though we couldn't see much.

Pics to come. :D

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fully Circled

One of my main... hmm... I don't want to say beefs, but maybe just plain old complaints with life in the Bush has been its general lack of access to fresh/quality produce.

Enter Full Circle Farm and their stunning organic CSA program. They are based in Washington state, but have found a nice little niche shipping produce up to Alaska. This year, I got us set up as a delivery site, so several teachers from Nunapitchuk and the neighboring split village of Kasigluk-Akiuk and Kasigluk-Akula signed up for delivery this week. The boxes arrived a day early and I'm like a kid in a candy store. Or maybe a rabbit in a carrot store. Either way. Happy. Happy to have fruits and vegetables I don't have to cut the bad spots off of (or, sometimes, cut the good spots off a mostly bad item). Happy to be able to feed my little guy veggies and fruits that aren't all pesticide-y. And happy, mostly, to eat tasty food.

Shaun took a picture of our bounty; I'll either update this post or link to his when he gets it up.

And now... WE FEAST!

Monday, January 05, 2009


I'm in Wisconsin until the 10th of January. Baby, husband and I are having a good time, but as usual there are just too many things that we've done, are doing, and will do in the next few days.

Some highlights in the past tense:

  1. The flight here was... interesting. It was just Isaac and me (Shaun and Loki having flown back a week early), and the weather was not cooperating. For once, however, getting out of the village, and out of Bethel, was not even close to an issue. Clear skies and cold temperatures made for easy flying, although a recent ear infection for Isaac made me a bit nervous. In Anchorage, I was greeted by news that while my flight to Seattle was one of the few still not canceled, it was delayed by several hours, putting me on a VERY close connection schedule in Seattle. We waited. 300 people were waiting for 30 standby seats on our flight; apparently ours was the only Anchorage-Seattle flight that had flown in the past 24 hours due to bad Seattle weather and flight crews being over their hours or some such madness. Our flight boarded after several more delays. We reached a post-blustery Seattle, without further incident, approximately ten minutes after my flight had started boarding. I had to get to a different concourse; I didnt' even have time to put Isaac in his carrier. So through SEA-TAC airport I sprinted, baby under my arm like a football, infant snowsuit draped over the diaper bag, everyone pointing and laughing because Isaac is shrieking with laughter at this fun new game. We arrived just as they were about to close the door. I got on board (first class this time... hooray for mileage upgrades) just in time to... sit on the tarmac for an hour and a half while they de-iced us THREE times. Come to find out SEA-TAC airport ran out of de-icing fluid. I'm not surprised; that airplane was COATED in ice. After we finally took off, it was comfortable (if not well-appointed; they hadn't had time to stock the plane with first class edibles, but we were all so happy to be airborne, they could have fed us stale bread and water and we'd have rejoiced and asked for more) flight into Minneapolis-St. Paul, where I discovered that my luggage (a suitcase and Isaac's car seat) had not made the quick connection in Seattle. I really didn't care. The airline loaned us a car seat and home we went. Our luggage arrived just in time for Christmas via FedEx.

    So there you have it. We shouldn't have made it home as easily as we did. My frantic sprint through SEA-TAC was nothing compared to what most people who went through Seattle experienced. But apparently the virgin goat I sacrificed was just what the travel gods had a hankerin' for, because I was home on my originally-scheduled flight, albeit late and without luggage.
  2. Grandparents have been loving on the baby. I have pictures, and will try to get 'em posted at some point
  3. Everyone in the entire extended family except for Isaac and myself caught a nasty norovirus on Christmas Eve/Christmas. I credit breastfeeding for keeping Isaac from getting it too badly, but I'm not sure why I didn't get sick. It's possible that, as an elementary school teacher, I've already been exposed to this specific bug, or maybe I just have a gut of steel. Anyway, I had 12 hours of hardly-noticeable queasiness when everyone else in my family lost five pounds on the Pray to the Porcelain God diet. I also had a bunch of pickled herring on Christmas Eve... maybe that helped. Pickled herring for good health!
  4. I visited Minneapolis, and got to see Katie (only briefly because she and her husband, thankfully not their baby, also got sick) and Chanda. Good times, as usual.
That's about it. Pictures to come, I hope. :D

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From Bad to worse

28 (now 29) posts in 2008. And it's not like nothing blogworthy happened. I popped out a baby, for chrissake.

I guess raising a kid is just more important than blogging about him.

I should try harder, though. Really. But I'm not going to make it a New Year's resolution or anything.

Well, Then

It's been a while. Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the holidays are all up in our faces. The year has blown by. I think that, just like the pregnancy made last year go so quickly, school-wise, having a baby around to mark the passage of time is doing the same this year. Just a few updates:

  • Ike is... crawling, pulling up, and (as of a few days ago) flushing the toilet. Cause and effect... "I push this shiny silver thing down, and it makes a noise!"
  • Loki has taken well to his new human torturer. He'll allow himself to be crawled upon, grabbed at, and bitten, and when he's had enough, he just gets up and walks away.
  • My classroom looks like twenty different construction paper art projects exploded in it, and it's not far from the literal truth. This time of year, it's best to stick to things that keep students' little hands busy.
  • I'm trying to lose the pregnancy weight, and making modest progress. Slow and steady wins the race, eh?
  • Isaac is eating food. He refuses anything offered to him on a spoon, so we're just giving him baby-sized portions (read: tiiiiiiiiiny and non-choke-able) and letting him self-feed. Not sure what I'm going to do with my ziploc bags full of homemade purees, though.

And with that, I leave you. Don't let the holidays stress you out.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Fan Scan

My mother and middle sister are at the Packer game. We keep scanning the crowd shots for them, but no luck so far.

Good game to be at!