Thursday, December 22, 2005

Greetings from the Floor

Here I am, coming to you live from the floor of a friend's apartment in Bethel, Alaska.

Actually, I'm in a chair at a computer, but I'm sleeping on the floor tonight, and was doing so until just a few minutes ago when I woke up incredibly thirsty and, strangely, no longer sleepy.

I realize that I have been throwing a lot of really short entries out there... and no pictures. Let's just say I'm busy and will try harder in the new year, 'k? Tomorrow I fly to Anchorage, where I will be boarding a direct flight from Anchorage to Maui to hang out in the balmy tropical goodness with the family. This is a good thing. And since I will probably not be posting AT ALL from Hawaii, I'm going to give you my inane reflections on the earthy revolution-based time-measuring unit number 2005. Take them for what they're worth, and if you are offended by the phrase "poop factory," please move along:
  1. Life is good. Just kind of in general. I can recall times in the not-so-recent past when I did not think life was so good... but I'm happy to say with great certainty that it is.
  2. If something makes you happy (deep-down happy, not just momentarily, superficially happy), it's probably a good thing. Stop thinking and go with it.
  3. Kindergarteners are a lot smarter than people give them credit for.
  4. Don't worry so much about what other people think. Showing off or doing things just for applause from others is for the insecure. Just when you think you're pretty damn smart or cool or funny or whatever, you have to carry a bucket of your own waste out to a hopper filled with other people's similar waste. Then you realize: no matter how extraordinary you think you are, you're just a poop factory like everyone else.
  5. Remember when your teacher reprimanded you for making those farty noises with your hand and armpit? Rest assured that he/she was probably laughing on the inside. Same for the time you tried out that new word your uncle/cousin/older brother taught you but said not to use in front of adults. Same for the time you sat on another student's lap during recess and passed gas on purpose.
  6. Don't expect everyone around you to do a good job. Some people just don't care about their work, but that's no excuse for not doing a good job yourself.
  7. For Chrissake, ask for help if you need it.
  8. Routine is not necessarily boring. I crave certain routines... waking up with someone, doing my daily work, then coming home to a normal, "us" evening. Nothing special... just living out life like the billions of other poop factories on this planet. Appreciate what you've got; the day-to-day stuff is where the magic lies... I think.
  9. You wouldn't believe the parts of fish that are edible.
  10. Open your heart. F#%* it. It may be a little dangerous, but it's pretty rewarding.

I promise... I will have pictures upon my return from Hawaii. I got a new memory card for the fancy new camera... so I can take more than seven pictures without having to stop and upload them to my computer (which is good since I'm leaving it behind in Alaska).

Good News, Boys and Girls

Yesterday was winter solstice.

That means today there is just a little more daylight than yesterday.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled broadcasting.

Monday, December 19, 2005

It's Over

I updated my iPod, and it now has solitaire on it.

My days of semi-productivity are over.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

It's Amazing What 14 Hours of Sleep can Do

Seriously... 14 hours of sleep is a good answer to most health issues.

I was sick. Then I went to bed at 5:30pm and work up at 7:30am. Now I feel a lot better.

Like magic, it is.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I Seem to be More a Student than a Teacher

That's right, I'm thinking about MORE schooling.

Not quitting my job and going back to school, mind you. I like my job, in addition to the income it provides.

I've decided that I might want to be a regular classroom teacher, instead of (or rather, in addition to) an ESL teacher. But fear not, gentle reader, I've found a few distance education programs that I'm looking into. I won't be a poor college student again. I refuse.

I think my parents might refuse, too.

Friday, December 09, 2005


The post office is open once again.

You may resume the sending of lavish gifts and envelopes full of unmarked bills.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Our post office is closed.

That's right ladies and gentlmen. Come rain or sleet or snow or whathaveyou... they deliver mail. Well, they don't deliver, but they, you know, let us get our mail and stuff.

But a few high school aged criminals with crowbars can bring the whole thing to a grinding halt.

Last week, there was a mass break-in across town. All the stores and the Post Office/village offices (they share a building) were broken into. Lots of cash was stolen. Suspects are in custody, so done deal, right?


You see, when a U.S. Post Office gets broken into, they have to close and have a formal investigation by the Postal Inspectors or something like that.

So no mail in, no mail out. Christmas presents are piling up inside the post office. Luck for me I didn't use my credit card last month and don't carry over a balance, because bill-due-date has come and gone... I know I MUST have a phone bill waiting for me in my PO Box, but I can't get to it.

Oh well...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Slightly Inappropriate

Apparently this is something that needed saying in posterboard medium.

They didn't hold this one up at the airport, though... Bethel is a bit conservative in that sense.

Silly girls.

Silly, silly girls

You like the pink poncho? I found it at a thrift store fo $2.00.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Good Friends: Good to Have

You know how sometimes you just realize you're lucky?

I walked into the Alaska Air terminal in Bethel this morning, fresh off a flight that had me awake at 4am to be at the airport with the boss (I'll publish a graphic description of "traveling with the boss" later on). I was not at my sunshiney best, honestly. I'll admit this.

So I walk into the terminal from the dark -20 degree morning and who is waiting for me but five of my friends, holding a "Smac's Getting Hitched" sign and some balloons! There was also something written on the back, but it is highly inappropriate for the G-rated family content I strive to maintain on this site.

My day got a whole lot better!

Apparently I'm getting an engagement party! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I *heart* Copying...

I thought this was a good idea, so I'm going to steal it.

Basically, it's fun to think about what you'd tell yourself in an e-mail if you could send one back in time. Before I start, let me say that I'm fairly happy with how my life turned out, but there are always those little things... So here goes...

1 year ago (age 25)- Breathe. Relax. Don't close yourself off.

5 years ago (age 20)- College will end soon. You'll deal with a whole lotta lot after you graduate and before you settle down in a place you can't even imagine right now. And you'll learn from it all. Life can teach you more than school.

10 years ago (age 16)- Drop choir and take some random free high school electives... this is your last chance for a free education, and you'll have a lot more fun if you diversify a bit. Lift weights, it'll really improve your swimming, but don't stress out if it doesn't. High school boys are dumb, don't blame them for it... it's like blaming a dog for peeing on a hydrant.

15 years ago (age 11)- You will not be an ungainly girl with too-short pants and fickle friends forever. Just ride it out, they're called the awkward years for a reason. Being an adult in the real world is nowhere near as harsh as being a socially uncomfortable kid in an excessively popularity- and fashion-oriented sixth grade class. Don't listen to anyone who tells you you read too much. If you don't like New Kids on the Block, don't listen to them, even if a bunch of silly girls say they won't be your friend if you don't like their music.

20 years ago (age 6)- Don't settle for the "middle" reading group when you know you can read better than most of the kids in the "high" reading group... throw a fit while you're still young enough to throw really good ones! Don't eat the school green beans, they will make you vomit. Hug your grandparents. Don't surf in the wagon on the cement floor of the garage just because you're bored... you'll fall, bust something in your nose, and have a few years' worth of random bloody noses to show for it.

OK, So, Funny Story...

I feel like I've personally notified everyone I need to personally notify (and if I missed someone, I'm very very very very very very sorry).

I'm engaged.

Thank you and good night. :-D

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Where have all the cool chicks gone?

Guys have asked me this before. Where are the cool chicks? You know, the ones who are just... cool? The elusive low-maintenance-but-not-butch girls that guys supposedly find attractive?

Having spent a weekend with some VERY cool chicks, I can tell you where at least a small pack of them can be found: Teaching in the Alaskan Bush.

The kind of girls that cut their own hair but still shave their legs.

The kind of girls that browse both Pier 1 Imports and Sportsmen's Warehouse.

The kind of girls who land a silver salmon, gut it, filet it (OK, maybe not happily or skillfully, but it's part of catching the fish), then go home, wash up, and give their hair a hot oil treatment.

The kind of girls who can carry on equally competent conversations about both national affairs and the merits of lining your honey bucket with a plastic bag.

Dude, we rock.

OK, I'm better now

I had strep, apparently.

But that was some serious strep.


I'm feeling better now, though... and kinda happy. However, I'm back in Anchorage. I know, dear reader, you're thinking "but she just got back two days ago." This is the literal and honest truth. This time, however, I'm back for work purposes. We're touring a couple different immersion schools to pick up ideas for either changing our language model at our school or just ideas in general for helping out students who are struggling in BOTH of the languages they speak...

Monday, November 28, 2005


Anchorage was very, very fun.


However, I am now very, very sick. It kinda sucks, actually. The good feeling left over from the weekend is somewhat dampered by the fact that I have to brace myself in order to swallow, and that I alternate between sweating buckets and shivering.

I'm going home.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

You Guys are Good

Whatever beasts sacrificed their lives for my travel pleasure did not die in vain.


If You're the Goat-Sacrificing Type...

Now would be a good time to appease the little known god Arregula, the deity who controls the maintenance and repair of airport runway lights.

Apparently the runway lights are (still, as they were when I was there last FRIDAY) not working. Guess who's scheduled on an evening flight into Anchorage tomorrow? That would be me.

Seriously, you'd think that in WINTER, in ALASKA, when daylight is not known to be in excessive overabundance, they'd, you know, find runway lights to be some kind of priority. Especially right before THANKSGIVING MOTHERF---ING WEEKEND when everybody and his fourteen coworkers are trying to get to Anchorage.

I'm slightly pissed off at the moment.

So yeah, appease a few maintenance gods. Even if barnyard animal sacrifice isn't your thing... a tiny altar and some incense can't hurt, right? ;-)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

Well, it may not be by the time I actually get around to posting this, since I’m typing it into a Word document at home where I have no internet (STILL… long story).

But yeah, it’s snowing.


My father my hang me from the rafters for saying this, but winter without snow sucks. We had a week and a half of temperatures that scarcely rose above a big, round, fatty zero (Fahrenheit), but no snow to make the tundra a little less poopy-brown. It had gone from too warm to snow to too cold to snow very, very abruptly. So it was freezing cold with nothing to play in.

Bethel had snow, but not Quinhagak. A pox on Bethel and their snow-having.

As we speak (or, more accurately, as I type and you likely sleep, it being 10pm AK time and all), however, it’s snowing. And it’s almost 10 degrees, which has to be a record for the month of November 2005.

There are at least three inches on the ground (more in drifts and piles, obviously), up from an inch yesterday and a negligible dusting for the two weeks before that.

I heard snow machines roaring to life this evening. The men have been itching to get out and go hunting… patiently (or not really patiently) waiting for enough snow to fall to bust out the snowmachines.

The weather had better shape the *censored for family viewing* up, though, because it’s almost Thanksgiving. The most loyal of loyal readers who have for some reason suffered through an entire year of this drivel will remember that last year I got a little to excited about Thanksgiving, and the deities-that-be decided to knock me down a few steps by throwing various weather- and travel-related hilarities my way.

So this year I’ll not be nearly as cocky. I mean, due to a side-splitting mix-up involving me, a school van, a wrestling team, and two separate incidences of bad weather, my backpack traveled back from Bethel with me (after an extra day marooned at the high school with 4 high school girls), only to be loaded back onto a plane to Bethel by an overzealous wrestling team headed to their final meet. So the whole get-all-my-clothes-washed-on-Saturday-so-I-don’t-have-to-stress-out-later-this-week thing just didn’t happen, since my bag and everything in it (mostly clothes and toiletries) is not currently in my presence.

Not that I’m complaining. What did I need a toothbrush for, anyway?

Thursday, November 17, 2005


We may or may not be weathered in today. Yup, me and four high school girls.

If I had to guess I'd say "may."

Hooray for gusting blowing snow!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


In a previous life, for about a year, I worked as an AmeriCorps member at a wonderful organization called Admission Possible. My year there was a wonderful learning experience, and I felt, for the first time in my life, like I was helping to pass on all the good stuff I somehow managed to absorb during my youth.

Today, the organization is profiled in the New York Times. That very much rocks.

If you have spare change burning a hole in your pocket, donating to A.P. will make you feel hella-good about yourself!

Mass Chaos

The scene from above at the Lower Kuskokwim School District's speech contest.

We have to keep all of our stuff with us all day long because we sleep in high school classrooms, and can't have our stuff sitting in someone's classroom all day long.

So yay.

100 high school students and their bags of books, clothing, and sleeping bags.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Lookit My New Wheels

You know, the moment in a young professional's life when she buys a new vehicle is supposedly a big one. You know... you didn't have a nice car through college or whatever because you just didn't have the cash. But when you finally get the dough, you buy a new car.

Except I didn't buy a car.

A car here is far beyond my needs and budget at the moment.

So I did what everyone here does. I bought a 4-wheeler, as you have no doubt figured out from the picture, it being worth a thousand words and all.

Also, notice the nice layer of ice on our driveway. See, our neighbors' water (shower, sinks, etc) drains under their house... then flows downhill onto our driveway. Great fun.

Monday, November 14, 2005


4-wheeler arrived last week, just in time for me to head out of town and not use it.

I'll post a picture when (a) it gets light, and (b) I have time to run home and get my camera, which I conveniently left on my living room couch.

Friday, November 11, 2005


We arrived safely in Nunapitchuk (another village in our district). I am chaperoning... one... person... for a wrestling meet. We have ONE female competitor, so she needs a chaperone, and since I've got friends in Nunap, I volunteered.

I took some really great pictures on the flight here. The air was clear, and I had a front seat in a Navajo, so I could take a picture out the window without the wing being the way.


I forgot camera cord in Quinhagak.

So I'll have to post them when I get back... sorry! Just pretend there's a really cool picture right here:


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Void in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico

I want to win this couch, but can't.


I want that couch.

Comedy Central and their Lower48-ist legal policies can kiss my shiny kass'aq behind.

Who wants to enter for me? You can have the trip to NYC to see the Daily Show (much as I would envy you), but I want the couch. Please dear Lord, I want that couch.

I just do.

Because Jon Stewart is my hero.

And he's hot.

In a middle-aged Jewish man kind of way.

EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that the offer is NOT void in American Samoa. This is a travesty. I mean, any asshole can find Alaska on a map (even really dumb assholes), but I bet the idiots who wrote their legal policy couldn't find American Samoa without the help of Google. That is all.


My classroom temperature is above 60 degrees! Time to bust out the swimsuit!

On a more annoying note, I had to turn on "comment verification" to help cut down on spam comments. Grr.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

We Have a New Record!

My classroom was 46 degrees this morning.

I said I didn't care if everyone else was sweating and wearing bathing suits at work because they turned the heat up... 46 degrees is just not within my "comfortable indoor work temperature" zone.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Garlic Toast

It's amazing the things that can trigger memories.

The other day, I decided to make myself a piece of toast. Now, we don't always have bread here in the village, so this isn't as common for me as it used to be.

As I was buttering the toast after it popped up out of the toaster, I looked up into an (open; I was in the process of making soup) cupboard and spied the garlic powder. You know, cheap store-brand garlic powder.

I sprinkled some on my buttered toast.

The smell of it, toast and butter and garlic, sent me rocketing back. You see, my family isn't what you call fancy, food-wise. Growing up, parmesan cheese comes in a green plastic jar, and garlic came in powder form. We'd have spaghetti on a fairly regular basis, and we'd ALWAYS have garlic toast to go with it. Not fancy, french-bread with freshly crushed garlic garlic toast. Nope... plain old bread with butter and garlic powder sprinkeled on it. One of us kids usually had the job of standing by the toaster, inserting, and buttering the toast.

I ate those two slices of garlic toast and felt a sudden craving for spaghetti. They say that smell is one of the strongest memory triggers, and I guess I believe them.

I made myself another two pieces of toast.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Beautiful, Beautiful Friday

Well, if your definition of "beautiful" is below zero, then today is beautiful.

Me? The fact that it's Friday is enough to make it beautiful.

It's been a long week... caught a bit of a cold and just couldn't shake it. Teaching oral language is difficult when you have half a voice.





Which means tomorrow is Saturday.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

So... November, huh?

Where is this school year going?

Am I the only one who has no idea what happened to August, September, and October?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Biting the Bullet...

On the phone buying a 4-wheeler.

I'm gonna be a grown-up, complete with my own set of wheels for toodling around town.

I won't have to ask the principal for the keys to the van, which will be nice, because it felt a whole lot like being a teenager, asking ma and pa for the keys to the car. Actually, even worse than that. I had my own car, the LOVE MAZDA, in high school, so I didn't have to ask for the keys like we do now.

Besides, the van hasn't started for two weeks, so at the moment there's nothing to ask permission to use.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Oh, the Humanity, Part III (final product)

This is what happens when you let second-graders draw what you're going to cut...

Oh, the Humanity, Part II (mid-sacrifice)

Oh, the Humanity...

Now is the time of year when humans ritualistically slay pure, innocent, virginal pumpkins, like the one pictured here, making ceremonial goblin heads of them. Great fun, honestly.

I am passing on this barbaric practice to my second graders. Great fun. Pictures of the of the carnage to follow...

Warning: They may or may not be for the faint of heart, depending on your stance on pumpkins' rights.


I took a nice long walk to, then down, the beach yesterday. Sorry about the smudgy thing in the upper-right corner... apparently a snowflake made an unwelcome appearance in my picture. Grr.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Mmmm... Drugs

Coffee is wonderful, no?

I often wonder if I would be able to continue teaching were there to not be a constant supply of the stuff in the school kitchen.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Time is 8:49; Temperature 9.

I can still hear the lady's voice on the automated time-and-temp in Stevens Point, WI. "Good morning, Wisconsin Bell thanks you for calling. The time is ____; temperature ____." But anyhoo...

First single-digit temperature morning.

I think.

Our kitchen thermometer (yet another wonderful leave-behind from Former Roomie) read 9 degrees, but when I got into school, the my Firefox weather thingy said 17. I'm more inclined to belive the kitchen thermometer, however, since it's actually reading the temperature in Quinhagak. Firefox pulls its weather from the National Weather Service, who measure weather in Bethel.

So maybe it's 8 degrees warmer in Bethel. Or maybe my thermometer is whacked.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Halloween Pearls of Wisdom from First Graders

Student: "Sara, don't go by the old school. There might be a ghost or a Chuckie."

Teacher: "I live right by the old school."

Student: "Oh, do you ever see Chuckies?"

SOMEONE's been watching one too many scary movies.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

It Starts

As you can see in the picture, winter has arrived.

I'm not talking about the snow.

I'm talking about all the 4-wheelers parked outside our school on a Saturday.

You see, today is the date of our first community basketball tournament of the winter. This, more than weather, marks the start of winter for me.

Some of the women here are trying to get me to play on their team. Do I have any special talent? Have I shown any sort of extreme athletic prowess? No. I'm just tall. I'm the tallest woman in Quinhagak, Alaska, actually. It's quite an honor, and I'm reminded at least once a week by one student or another suddenly looking up and me and saying, "So tall."

So... every tournament someone asks me if I want to play on their team.

Never mind that I can't play worth a damn.

Never mind that I've never played beyond casually shooting around with other non-players.

Never mind that I don't really know the rules or positions.

Never mind that I'm something of a klutz.

I'm tall, and that's enough.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I'm Back!

Life is good.

And tomorrow's Friday!

Good, indeed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I'm livin' out of it

Everything for the week is in it.

Isn't it pretty?

So glad it arrived before I left. RIGHT before I left.

It's nice to be able to carry everything around in one bag, rather than the one-bag-for-clothes- one-bag-for-computer-and-other-stuff system I had before a coworker brought a box containing the new backpack from the post office.

So, yeah. New backpack being put to good use. So far it's held up well to the strain. I'm quite proud of it, really. It seems to be a quality backpack.

Go backpack.

Whistle a Happy Tune

I'm here until Thursday. I've been here since Friday.

I refuse to be crabby anymore.

Floors aren't uncomfortable to sleep on... they're extra firm!

I'm not boring and borderline-disgusting wearing the same pants six days in a row... I'm low-maintenance!

I'm not exhausted and crabby... I'm, well, exhausted and trying really hard not to be crabby!

Accept, accept, accept. I will accept the insanity!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Dirty. So Very Dirty

I am a filthy beast. Or I will be for the next few minutes.

Allow me to explain.

Friday evening, the first-year teachers and I (the lone 2nd year teacher at my site) flew into Bethel for first- and second-year teacher inservice... which is supposed to take one day, therefore requiring one change of clothes. Being (a) lazy and (b) not a clothes horse to start with, I packed underwear, socks, jammies, and a change of shirt. I'm the kind of girl who can wear the same pants two days in a row and not give a flying f***.


And, as always, there's a but.

But, I'm STILL HERE. I'm STILL HERE and will be until Thursday. You see, I was supposed to arrive back in the village on Sunday, teach Monday (also known as today), and fly out on Tuesday morning with the junior high speech team.

But noooooooooooooooooooo. Mother Nature hates my guts. So, weather permitting, my speech team will meet me here in Bethel tomorrow. Now let's do the math... I have one pair of jeans, two shirts, two pairs of underwear, and two pairs of socks. To last me until Thursday when the speech contest is over... unless it gets cancelled because no one can make it into town... in which case I'm still kinda screwed because if no one can get in, I can't get out.

It's nice to have a friend who lets you use her washing machines.

Ooh, they're dry now... excuse me while I bask in cleanliness for the first time in two days.

Also, got drunk Saturday night, but that seems so long ago that I don't feel like talking about it. Read for full details.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Just Call Me Whiney Bitch

Seriously, ever had one of those days? Where you can't find your keys and it makes you cry and you know in some part of your mind that it's no big deal; your keys have to be around somewhere because you needed them to get in and haven't gone anywhere since using them, but you're still really upset about it and the fact that you're upset about it makes you even more frustrated with the whole situation?

Or is it just me?

So, after an inexplicably crabby day followed by a SIX (yes, 6, seis, five-plus-one) hour delay getting out of the village, let's just say I wasn't the happiest camper ever to hit Bethel, Alaska.

So I walked from the airport. It took like an hour and a half. I felt much better.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


From one of my favorite (yes, teachers have favorites) students:

Student: "Sara, if you steal from the store, God will be mad at you."

Me: "Well, I'm not planning on stealing from the store."

Student: "Oh, OK. (*pause*) Good. Because then God would be mad at you if you stole from the store."

I got the distinct impression he thought I had some brewing plans to nick a pack of gum from Qanirtuuq, Inc.

Good to Know

Just in case you're wondering, if you watch an episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and then read some Harry Potter RIGHT before going to sleep when you're VERY tired, you will have dreams in which you can do magic and kick some major ass.

I woke up this morning kind of disappointed that I didn't have fun powers.

Monday, October 10, 2005

She's Not Wrong

An exerpt from one of the many fascinating conversations I had with students at the school dance I chaperoned on Friday evening:

Student: Man, all the guys here suck.

Me: Why's that?

Student: They're all short. And they're all my cousins.

Me: Yeah, I guess that does kinda suck.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Picture - Nothing More

Oh 12 Year-Olds, You're so Cool

So last night, I'm sitting comfortably in the recliner, watching an episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (yes, I'm a big geek, but you already knew that) on DVD last night, when I hear a curious giggling.

Thought some kids were just walking by... my driveway area kind of serves as a shortcut sometimes.

Then I realized that the giggling was coming from under my house.

Muttering words and phrases that would make the saltiest sailor blush like a schoolgirl, I slid on my shoes, walked out the door, and pointed a flashlight under my house. I could see the heels of adolescent-sized tennis shoes running away on the other side of the house.

More swearing.

I ran around the house as fast as I could (not fast considering I am not in peak form and my shoes weren't on properly) to find that they had run across the little wet, pond-y, marsh-y area that separates my house from the main road. I could only see one (and it was no shock who it was), and he was laughing and running. This, of course, further incensed me.

Little shi- er- misguided darlings were SMOKING under my house.

If my house burns down, I'm going to be a little pissed.

12 year-olds are the height of cool, aren't they?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Now THESE are running shoes

Just a little mud ;-)

If You've Only Got a Hammer, Everything's a Nail...

And if you've got a new camera, apparently, everythings an opportunity for a photograph. Prepare to suffer through useless pictures... I'm on a roll here.

Just some cranberries and crowberries (known locally as blackberries, although I have trouble calling them that because when I think blackberries I think of wisconsin blackberries, which are a totally different animal) I picked on Saturday. Made cranberry bread on Sunday. So domestic, I know.

This is the picture taken without the flash... I took one with the flash, and it came out well, but the cranberries came out too red and not maroon enough... so you get the dark version.

Friday, September 30, 2005


It snowed today, briefly.

Wacky Stuff

I'm wearing a skirt, tights, mary janes, and MAKE-UP today.

It's dress-up day, sponsored by our student council.

I had fun digging through my closet, looking for those not-so-oft-used skirts and dress pants. Then I put on sweat pants, hiked my skirt up, and set out to walk to school the 30 degree weather. Then a coworker picked me up and drove me to school, making the sweatpants totally unnecessary.

But yeah, I'm wearing a skirt. Now I have to spend a few minutes at the beginning of each class letting students ooh and ahh at the skirt and explaining the difference between "skirt" and "dress" (they all call it a dress).

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Please Tell Me

Why is it 55 degrees in my classroom?

My hands, always a little colder than the average hand (OK, a LOT colder), are fleshy icicles.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

New Toy

Finally broke down and bought a really nice digital camera. My old one would not turn on sometimes. I would move the little switch over and it would just stare at me, off. Then, when I finally got it on, it in a similar fashion would not turn off. AND it ate batteries like I eat cinnamon Altoids.

So... I bought a nice new camera. And I took a picture with it. A few actually, but I'm only going to share this one. It still doesn't have a very big memory card (why do nice cameras STILL come with crappy memory cards? What a scam to get you to have to buy new crap...), so I'm limited in number...


Monday, September 26, 2005


I have a picture to post today, but Blogger is not cooperating.

I'll try again later.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Decisions, Decisions

So I haul my butt out of bed this morning, eat some breakfast, and think, Hmm, I really should work out. Or... OR... I could go back to bed for a bit.

I decided to go back to bed.

I get up again (after reading in bed, rather than sleeping), and think, OK, I'm really going to work out now.

On go the workout clothes. In the ears go the headphones attached to friendly Mr. iPod. Down goes my slightly-too-ample bottom upon the seat of the secondhand exercise bike that graces a corner of my living room.

The phone rings.

Like a good little fattie who has to be wearing a swimsuit in Hawaii at Christmas, I let it ring.

The answering machine picks up... "Sara, there's a feast at my house. You should come eat."

It wasn't a decision, really. Again, the exercise bike is abandoned. I pull on clothing more appropriate for the weather (48 degrees, windy, and rainy) and am happily walking down the street to the house where two grandchildren of our kindergarten teacher are celebrating birthdays.

Said teacher/grandmother to birthday-ers lives right by school, so of course I HAD to stop and check e-mail and news and type a useless blog entry.

NOW I'm going to go home and work out.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


'Tis a wee bit windy today.

Actually, it's a lot windy.

I know this picture doesn't look all that impressive, but let me assure you that as soon as I walked past the protective hulk of the school, was pelted with what felt like knifedrops. Couldn't have been raindrops. Wacky stuff, this wind.

So anyway, I don't have any waving trees or anything to take pictures of, so here's the grass. I have no way of estimating wind speed, so I classify it by grass angle: Vertical (nothing), Waving slightly diagonal (a comfortable breeze), waving seriously diagonal (wind), and nearly horizontal.

Today was rainy with wind speeds of nearly horizontal miles per hour.

No flooding, thus far. YAY!

Yippee Ki-Yi-Yay, M#$*er F*$%er

Well, then, isn't this just special.


Could be worse, 65 MPH winds sounds like nothing compared to what's about to hit Texas...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sorry, You Missed Out

I had a nice post typed up about our current coastal flood watch, but blogger decided it'd be fun to do some maintenance, so I lost it.

So instead you get this crappy piece of crappy crap.

Yes, I look like crap. And yes, I took the picture myself. And no, I don't care what you think. ;-)


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Home Sweet Home

My House
Originally uploaded by smacca.
I took this picture last night, having finally received my camera cord. The weather was crazy... Sun and rain at the same time.

There was a great rainbow, but all attempts to photograph it failed because it was so bright out.

So yeah, there's my house, for those of you who wanted to see it. Prefab sweet prefab.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Why the Federal Government Needs to Buy me a Dogsled or a Snow Machine

So, apparently, a lot of stuff is now "Unable to be shipped by air due to federal shipping regulations. Please choose a ground shipping option."

Well, kiss my shiny and ample white behind, there AIN'T NO GROUND SHIPPING OPTION. Unless they're going Pony-Express it from Anchorage to Bethel (look at a map, see those mountains in between the two cities?), then Bethel to the village, it's GOING TO HAVE TO GO ON A PLANE.

Things that are apparently off-limits to me and my ilk include that no-water-needed hand sanitizer and certain electronics.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I ordered a cord for my camera. Soon I will be able to resume posting pictures.

So tell me.

What do you want to see pictures of?

Keep it clean, boys and girls... this is a family program ;-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Vocabulary Lesson

So while back, I had the following conversation with a coworker:

Coworker: I learned a new word, from a movie.

Me: Oh? What word?

Coworker: Peckerwood.

Me: Um...

Coworker: Yeah, a guy in this movie called this other guy a peckerwood.

Me: Um... it's kind of a bad word meaning "white person." Like saying they're a redneck or something.

Coworker: Oh. I thought it had something to do with woodpeckers.

Always Knew I was Destined for Sainthood

Monday, September 12, 2005

And on a Happier Note...

My cousin got married last weekend! Yay Laura! I wish I could have made it, but knowing now how the weather was yesterday... it's a good thing I didn't go anywhere... I couldn't have gotten back.


My Classroom is my Castle, Dammit

So, last week and weekend, we had some electrician-type dudes here to upgrade our internet and phone systems. Good, great, fine. They seemed cool and all.

Last friday, I was very, very productive. So productive, I didn't have to come in to school AT ALL on the weekend. Go me.

I arrive this morning, ready to start my week with a planner full of lesson plans and a classroom ready to go.


(There's always a but)

So, apparently, wiring a school does NOT include putting stuff back where it belongs. Have to move a doll house out of a closet into the center of the classroom? That's fine! Just leave it there! I'm sure the teacher will enjoy putting it away when she's supposed to be calmly starting her day. Have to move a desk to put in a new outlet? No big deal, just leave it sprawled out at an awkward angle. The teacher doesn't have anything better to do, really. Her morning OUGHT to be devoted to cleaning up the mess you made. Really, honestly. Because teachers really have nothing better to do with their time. It's not like we're supposed to be educating anyone or anything. Because, honestly, you're only paid to do wiring and computer work. You can't be bothered to lower yourself to the drudgery of cleaning.

I promise I'll stop being a sarcastic byotch now.

Friday, September 09, 2005

From Shameless to Shameful

Last post of the day, I PROMISE.

And it's not exactly shameful. In fact, it's not shameful at all.

But I did something today. Something I haven't done in months.

Get your collective minds out of the gutter. I put on make-up. Not just a little pimple-coverage action. Real make-up. Just now, while sitting here waiting for my computer upgrades to finish downloading (UGH).

For me, at least, make-up and dressing-up fall into the same category... they're only fun when you have to do them all the time. When it's optional and just for kicks, it can be darn fun.

So anyway, yeah. I'm sitting here, in my empty classroom in our empty school, not having gone to Goodnews Bay because the weather sucked too much... wearing make-up. Lipstick, even.

Shameless Plug

OK, donate to the Red Cross if you can and/or want to. They're going to use a lot of their money on hurricane relief... there will be other disasters to attend to, and they'll need the dough.

You'll feel good, at least.

Random Updates

1. Girl In Hospital is supposedly doing a little better, but is not out of the woods yet. Keep up the praying, hoping, finger crossing, telepathic vibe sending, or whatever your thing is.

2. Wind is blowin' like a mofo this morning. Hopefully we get out to our scheduled Cross Country meet in Goodnews Bay this afternoon. I guess various knowledgable folks about the village are predicting an early winter. Greeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaat.

3. Non-alcoholic beer tastes pretty good after a day of work. If only it weren't non-alcoholic Beck's. *pukes* Anyone know of any good non-alcoholic dark beers?

4. Got my digital camera working again (had to find M.I.A. rechargable battery and charge said battery)... but the cord a friend donated to me didn't work because the camera end was smooshed, so I STILL can't hook it up to my 'puter to upload pics. Bonus points and maybe some dried salmon strips if I ever get my grubby mitts on some to anyone who can find me a USB cord for a HP PhotoSmart M305. NOT the expensive fancy docking thing... I don't need another gadget cluttering up my desk. Just a freakin' USB cord.

5. I'm kinda hungry right now.

That's about it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


15 year-old with meningitis. Failed kidneys.


Here's hopin' (raises non-alcoholic beer).

Friday, September 02, 2005

Old Curricula Never Dies...

It just gets put in a closet or storage room or warehouse (depending on the size of your school/district) to be slowly eaten away by whatever varieties of pestilence enjoy feasting on textbooks, consumables, reproducibles, manipulatives, teachers' manuals, and other assorded funnitudes.

Seriously, no profession is as fickle as the education field. Every year, it seems, there's a "New Best Way To Teach _______," and corresponding STUFF that goes along with it.

As part of our federally mandated "Site Improvement Plan," we have purchased all these fancy new programs and book sets and whathaveyou. Our principals ACTUAL STATEMENT (and I have a good memory for stuff like this, so trust me) was, "Well, we can try them out, and if they don't work, they'll just go upstairs."

Now wait a gosh darn minute.

We don't need new programs. Well, maybe in a few areas, but really, most "programs" are just general good teaching practice regurgitated in a new way. We need another three classrooms added onto our building and the certfied staff to fill them. What we need are students who come to school with full bellies and a good night sleep. Zoo Phonics (or whatever program) doesn't do jack squat unless the rest of the "package" is there (school, family, etc...).

/bitch mode

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Let's Hear it for the Little Things

Ya gotta appreciate the little things in life, otherwise the big ones get you way too far down. Like when the dentist is in town and one of your classes just magically happens to be at the dentist when they normally come to your classroom... so you get a free half hour that would normally be work time!

*Looks around empty classroom and takes a deep breath...*


Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Better day today.

Not nearly as crabby.

Monday, August 29, 2005


A clean slate, a week full of promise...

Ah, who am I fooling? I look at Mondays and just see one thing... Five Days Until the Weekend.

And all the new teachers are kinda wearing on me. I mean, they're nice and all, but it's tiring to deal with a constant stream of questions and things they're amazed/aghast/shocked/dismayed at. Is it really such a big deal that our water drains out under our houses? I mean, yeah, it's not great, and it's kind of a surprise when you first realize it, but I don't remember it warranting a five-minute discussion/bitch session when *I* was a new teacher. Maybe I'm too laid-back and generally accepting of life "as-is," but I don't remember stuff bothering me nearly this much.

*bitch mode off*

Thursday, August 25, 2005


How can I be sick ALREADY? School just started on Monday. This school is like a petri dish, I swear. An environment specifically designed to make it easy for germies to grow. More so than other elementary schools, I swear.

One of the native aides here at school (a friend) SWEARS there's a local plant that will make me feel better if boiled to make tea. I think, however, that it's this. You know, like... a hallucinogen. It does say, though, that it's a useful tonic in small doses. And it's a plant that grows naturally around here. It can't be illegal, can it? Can a plant's existence, in and of itself, be illegal? What if it just grows in my yard? Do they arrest me or the plant?

Disclaimer: Drugs are bad, 'mkay?

Monday, August 22, 2005

First Day of School

Excuse me while I vomit.

I'm MUCH more nervous this year than I was last. Last year, I was so shell-shocked, I don't think I was capable of being nervous. I was just numb from culture shock, I had had only one set-up day in my classroom, and to be honest, I was too dumb to be nervous. This year, however, I know what's in store. I know what I need to get done. I know 90% of my students (all but the new kindergarteners and any transfer students) are students I had last year... so no hiding behind "getting to know you" activities or "I don't know all your names yet." I know we have a lot of first-year teachers who will need help. And most importantly, I know I can do a better job than I did last year. Can't we always?

They're right, whoever "they" are. Ignorance is bliss. Last year was stressful, but I was too dumb to notice. ;)

And I may or may not have had a little too much coffee.

Friday, August 19, 2005

You know...

It's amazing how long one silver salmon can feed one person. Especially if you make it into soup.

AND... some of the new teachers are going caribou hunting, and they said that if they got one, it'll be for all to share. Sure, it's gamey, but it's meat for a little extra labor and some money for gas and shells. I'm not near the point where I could go out and shoot my own dinner... I'd probably endanger my life or the lives of others. But heck, if the guys get a kick out of it, I'm more than willing to accept some meat.

Not to say I COULDN'T afford meat; I totally could. But when you can legally get your own fish and game, why the heck not?

I'd wager a bet it's healthier meat than you'd find at a grocery store, too. Just a hunch.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Fried Brains, Anyone?

My mind is so scattered right now. I have a decent-sized list of stuff to accomplish by the time school starts at 8:30 Monday morning, and I'm doing a good job making progress, but I can't seem to focus on one individual task at a time.

I just have too many things to do, and all of the tasks are fairly attractive (fresh school year, fresh start, fresh ideas, fresh ambition). I'll start out doing one thing, then in the middle of that task some item will remind me of something else, so I start that without even thinking about it. As a result, nothing on my list is "finished," nothing is "not started," and EVERYTHING is "in progress."

And as for why I have been a bad, bad blogger... well, I just haven't had the time or mental focusing capability.

Off to a staff meeting!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Still Here, Don't Fret...

I just haven't been posting because I have to walk up to school to get internet access. I'm going to call on Monday (PAYDAY!) about setting up internet.

New Roomie (the Woman Formerly Known as Roomie moved to a different village) and I decided to try life without TV, but we were in unanimous agreement that home internet access was necessary.

Living without TV will be interesting. I haven't really missed it over the past week. OK, I've missed Jon Stewart, but other than that...

Sunday, August 07, 2005


I have some serious focusing issues. Cleaning is hard work, and I've found new ways to distract myself. Sure, I don't have internet or TV yet, but I can sure pop a DVD into my computer! How about a nice book? Oh, one I've read three times already? SURE!

I'm leaving my computer here at school. As for the books, there's not much I can do.

Editing note: I just noticed that I misspelled "read." I assure you that this was a typographical error, and that I DO know the difference between "read" and "red."

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Back in the Village!

No internet at home yet, so I have to walk into school to get online... and since I'm (a) lazy and (b) cleaning and re-arranging my home, that probably won't be too often.

But it's good to be back. I'm doing a serious clean-out of my house since I have a new roommate coming. It's actually kinda fun. It's easier to focus on cleaning when I don't have TV or internet to distract me.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Back to Work I Go...

I'll be heading back to the village in a few hours, weather permitting. Rumor has it the internet at the school is down, and I don't have internet at my house yet, so I might be incomunicado for a bit. Don't worry, I haven't been taken hostage or kidnapped or anything.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Why do I always end up talking about poop?

Anyway, my friend has a 14 month-old kid named Danny. They're Irish. While sitting around the living room watching him get his diaper changed, I penned (well, OK, I didn't write it down, so technically there was no pen involved) this little ditty to the tune of "Danny Boy," and it has been requested that I publish it...

Oh Danny boy, your butt, your butt is pooping
From nine to five
And five to nine again.
The food is gone,
And yet you are still pooping.
It's you, it's you, must poop
And I must clean.

I apologize for making you read that.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

I'm Damn Good Company

I know people who refuse to go eat dinner by themselves.

Preposterous, sez me. Why are people so afraid to be by themselves?

I went out for a nice Mexican sit-down dinner this evening, all by myself. I didn't die. No one pointed and laughed and called me a friendless loser. I wasn't even bored. I used to bring a book if I wanted to go out to eat by myself, or limit myself to non-sit-down restaurants, but why? I'm not bad company.

I think tomorrow I'll go to a movie.

When the Hell Am I?

It's noon, and I just woke up. Damn these Alaskans and their tendency to put very heavy curtains in hotel rooms.

In my defense, I flew into Anchorage on the red-eye last night. After an hour delay on the ground in Seattle and a three hour flight in a non-window/non-aisle seat, I got in at 2:30 AM and proceeded to wait a half hour for our luggage to burp itself out into the little turnthingy. I then waited 15 minutes for the airport shuttle, rode in said shuttle for 10 minutes, and arrived at the hotel ready to tip over at 3:30AM. A quick shower to remove that icky traveling feeling and I was in bed.

4am to noon is eight hours. I'm not lazy, just off-schedule. Tonight I'm going to attempt to go to bed at a decent hour, Alaska-wise, to see if I can force by body back into the time zone. Right now it's a little confused.

I KNOW WHAT WILL MAKE IT BETTER! A bath in the nice bathtub that fills up to the neck. Nice hotels are fun every once in a while.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


So it's finally cool enough to make regular (non-iced) coffee. And what do I do? BREAK THE F-ING CARAFE!

Guess I'll go to the coffee shop. :-(


1. Little sister who sat through hurricane finally got through to my parents and is indeed fine, just fine. So that's good news.

2. I fly back to AK on Saturday. Who the hell stole my summer? And more importantly, how much beer can I drink before I go back?

3. Going back to the village will be good for my wallet and waistline. I ate out too much and consumed just a wee bit too much beer this summer. I had finally started getting back in shape and putting money in savings, and then WHAM Minnesota happened. At least I didn't spend any of my savings or gain any weight, but certainly didn't make any progress.

4. I started biting my nails again. I had a good solid two weeks nibble-free.

5. It FINALLY cooled down. Two weeks above 90 with high humidity and no air conditioning was not my idea of fun. There's a reason Alaska appealed to me, and it wasn't the bears. I'm wearing jeans for what is probably the first time this summer and am pretty happy about it, thankyouverymuch.

6. What else should I do before leaving civilization?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Bitten by the Bug

Somehow I got bitten by the home-buying bug. I came to the somewhat surprising conclusion that I could, by this time next year, have enough for an adequate down-payment (god willing and the creek don' rise, inshallah, etc, etc, etc) on a starter (emphasis on starter... more on that later) home somewhere in Alaska. I guess I am 26 years old, it's about damn time, huh?

However, it would kinda force me into a position where I'd have to make decisions about my life. Since I can't own a home in the village (me being all non-native and stuff), if I WERE to buy a home, it would be a summer home only for at least a few years. Kinda seems bass ackwards to buy a summer home before buying a regular home, but there you have it.

Seriously, though, the stuff I'm looking at is pretty... quirky. I don't need or want a large house. I really think that a lot of my generation has some pretty lofty expectations when it comes to first-home-buying. I don't... and it makes the whole experience a little less stressful. I can actually picture myself paying off the numbers I'm looking at in some kind of forseeable future.

But really, it's all theoretical at this point. Who knows what'll happen in the next year? My job is pretty secure... they can't cut positions and make one teacher do half time at two schools as is so frequently the case in education because the nearest school is like 30 miles away. But still... don't wanna count the ptarmigan before they're hatched.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


I'm not sure what happened last night, but one of my housemates and I were just sitting around, watching bad Saturday evening TV, when all the sudden, the humidity just spiked to gross heights. We decided that rather than the sit-at-home-drink-some-wine idea we had previously endorsed as "plan for the evening," we needed to be somewhere air conditioned... so off to the bar we went.

Creative problem solving at its best.

Quick example of how repulsively sticky it was... I walked into an airconditioned store. I shopped in sweet climate-controlled comfort. When I exited the store, bag in hand, my glasses fogged up. The difference in temperature and humidity was THAT great.

Yahoo! weather says high of 94 today. Blah. However, tomorrow's highs, and the days after that, are supposed to be at least ten degrees lower, so that's good at least.

A week from yesterday I fly back to AK!

Saturday, July 23, 2005


So, Pa Mac can't come back to AK with me as planned for a little visit when I go back for the school year. I'm seriously bummed out, as is he. It was going to be fun. Waaaaaaaaaaaaah.


I decided, what the hell, I'll just take a little vacation by myself. Not a luxury vacation, but a room in a decent hotel in Anchorage, perhaps a train or bus ride up to Denali National Park, a last chance to drink some beer before a semester of alcoholic chastity, and just some general alone time.

I'm social, I've loved living with good friends and an incredibly cute baby for the summer, but then again, I can overdose on social interaction and need some time to myself. I'm a Gemini; I'm allowed to be a little split-personalitied.

And then... back to work.

Friday, July 22, 2005


Beer + Friend with scissors = Surprisingly good haircut.

OK, That's It...

Who the hell took my summer?

Where did it go?

I can't believe it's only eight days until I head back... then I have another two weeks until school starts... then it's back to the daily grind of educating our nation's youth...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


My little sister is small-town famous...

Hurricane Story

Monday, July 18, 2005

How 'Bout That Harry Potter, Huh? (no spoilers)

Just finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I know, I know, I'm getting slow in my old age... it took me a day and a half to finish it! But really, I didn't get THAT much reading time in, what with social obligations that had to be tended to. And in my defense, I didn't get it on Saturday (bastards put it in the mailbox, and I didn't find it. Since when does UPS put stuff in MAILBOXES? Honestly), so I didn't really start seriously reading until about 10am on Sunday.

Anyway, holy shit. The last few chapters are killa'. Another LONG book with a seeming overabundance of (probably necessary) exposition, but I think (hope?) it'll all come together quite nicely in Book 7, whenever that hits shelves. I was wrong about a few characters, I'll state that honestly and openly. I was also right about a few.

Hurricane update: Cozumel (nearest town to Little Sister's place of summer employment) got slammed, but all appears to be OK. Hopefully we'll hear from her soon!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Power of Nature

So my little sister's working down in Mexico this summer at a resort. The resort is located on the Yucatan Peninsula. Just so happens, they're expecting a Class 4 hurricane (whatever that means, I'm a Wisconsin/Minnesota/Alaska girl and while tornado classes mean something to me, I'm not up on hurricane lingo) at around 11pm Central Time tonight.

They've been evacuated to a nice concrete building on higher ground.

I'd be soiling myself in fear and anticipation... wonder how she's doing.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Happy Harry Potter Day

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, after months of anticipation, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince comes out at midnight tonight. Mine should be delivered to my parents' house by the fairy sometime tomorrow. I'm not a stand-in-line-at-midnight kind of person, honestly. I just don't like crowds that much, and besides, I've got better things to do on a Friday night... most of which don't involve standing in a line unless it's crowded up at the bar.

Crotchetyness aside, though, YAY! New Harry Potter Book! If you really, seriously think you're too cool or old for it, bah. I passed up the reading level required for a Harry Potter book sometime around the age of ten, and I still love 'em. And not just because I'm a teacher and intend to use them as read-aloud material next year. Still trying to figure out how I'm going to deal with all the Britishisms while reading to kids who have difficulty with standard AMERICAN English, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Speaking of coming to that bridge, I guess I'll be crossing it pretty soon, huh? I fly out of Minneapolis and into Anchorage on the 30th of this month. I'll probably still bum around Anchorage for a few days, even though my Dad can't visit like he had planned, because I've had so little "me" time this summer. I love my friends and it was great staying with a house full of great people and a hella-cute baby, but I'm somewhat antisocial at times and I think the alone time will do me good. So much to do before then... visit yarn store and stock up on fun yarn for the winter... drink enough beer so that I don't miss it for the first few months... I'd better get crackin', huh?

So, um, yeah. Tangent. Anyway, read Harry Potter. If you're not sure, read the first book... it's short, easy-to-read, and if you hate it, you haven't killed as much time as if you had read, say, the 5th book.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Rove leaking classified information, huh?

Dude is sleeeeeeeeeeazy.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Damn Dirty Filthy Hippies

That's what we were this weekend. Seriously. Filthy.

We attended the Winnipeg Folk Festival this weekend. Since we left on Wednesday and returned today, I have a lot of stories, but since none of them are all that interesting, I'll just give you the quick version:

Wednesday: Left Minneapolis; stayed overnight in a KOA in Moorhead, MN. Just a note: If you dislike mosquitoes, DON'T stay at the KOA in Moorhead, MN. Seriously. It was nasty.

Thursday: Arrived at Birds Hill Park just northeast of Winnipeg, Manitoba. We unpacked, set up the camper, and then went to see the evening acts, but got rainstormed out.

Friday: Arrived back at the festival grounds to find them transformed into a glorious maze of mud and water and muddy water. This was the last day I wore shoes or sandals... they were totally pointless. Saw some great music, got a million skeeter bites... and...

Got a massive, very localized, sun burn. Now normally, I'm a very responsible person when it comes to sun care. I like to get a little color, but am NOT a fan of the sunburn. I have slowly built up a little tan over the summer, mostly taking baby for walks and stuff like that.

I thouht to myself, "I'll be fine sans sunscreen for one afternoon; after that I'll have to wear it." WHICH I WOULD HAVE BEEN. BUT. I forgot that I got a little burned last weekend wearing my halter-top-style swimsuit having been outside in regular tank tops. Little burn where my tank top straps had been. Wore halter top outside. Forgot that I had peeled and was now sporting fresh, white, Alaskan skin.


Owwwwwwwwwww. Melanoma, here I come.

Saturday: More of the same, with sunscreen. Still managed to blister a little more.

Sunday: Wore sarong over shoulders all day. Friend's family decided to leave early (the mosquitoes only got worse with all the rain and mud), so we packed up and drove to Grand Forks, ND, where we stayed in two hotel rooms and trashed their bathtubs with our filthy, hippie, mud-encrusted feet. Left the cleaning person a swell tip.

Monday: Awoke to find blister replaced by scrape-like scab. Ewwwwwwwwwwww, but significantly less painful. Drove home to the lovely Twin Cities. Relaxed.

Overall... more skeeter bites than I can count, blistering sunburn, utter exhaustion, and ankle-deep mud. Yep. Great vacation. I'm not being sarcastic. It was awesome. I'm so marking my calendar for next year! Maybe I'll stay in the "fun" campground rather than the "quiet family" campground, though. Those people looked like they were having a very, very good time.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

If there was any doubt that I'm a big effin' nerd...

Warning: If you're going to watch the Tour de France coverage tonight after work, DON'T click on this link. Spoilerage. Thou hast been warn-ed.

Team Time Trial

Think El Lance-o can take a SEVENTH Tour? There's still a LOT of race left...

First time all summer I've been tortured not having cable. Well, I've missed the Daily Show with Jon "I'll have your lovechild, just ask me" Stewart, but I'd LOVE to be able to watch the Tour coverage. There's something about people who are just SUCH incredible athletes... I can't even imagine.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

How I Spend My Day

Originally uploaded by smacca.
Here's a picture of the young lady I'm babysitting this summer. It was taken over a month ago, so she's a little older-looking now, but you get the general idea.

And yes, she's eating a leaf.

In't she a cutie?

Monday, June 27, 2005


I'm kinda bored today. I want to do something, but nothing is presenting itself. It's raining pretty hard, so getting somewhere without a car presents a challenge.

This really is one of the first times I've been bored all summer, though.

Hot Shit

Pardon the profanity, please.

But it's totally worthy it. Chickscum bagged a finish at a time of 14:49:55 at Ironman Coeur d'Alene. Now she's off to Europe, the lucky byotch.

My Mini-Me is a rockstar.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Sick, Just Sick

A reeducation camp for gay teens? Seriously. In whose mind is that a good idea?

"Now, son, I realize that you are at what is for everyone a very difficult, confusing age. What you need is to be told that everything you feel is wrong. That'll make you into a happy, repressed adult. See you in eight weeks."

"Gee, thanks, Mom and Dad. This has in no way, shape, or form affected my self-image or sense of well-being."

I'm not gay, but even I can see how this is just a really, really bad idea.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Breathe in, Breathe out...

It's hot.

My relatively well-insulated Alaskan self is not loving the 95 degree weather. I don't really care for sweating.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I'm slacking off, bloggo-publishing-wise. Deal. ;-)

Can't say that anyone's life is all the worse for the lack of info...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Too Much, Methinks

Yesterday was the most obscenely decadent day I've had in a LONG time. Around 4, one of the housemates goes "Hey, we're going for sushi, wanna come?"

I looked at my alternatives (I was elbow-deep in dishwater at the time) and said a big fatty hell yeah.

So I went and had sushi. A lot of sushi. Spent quite a bit of money (at least by my somewhat cheap bastard definition of "a bit"). What the heck, though, I haven't had sushi yet this summer.

THEN evening came. Had a heckuva workout at the Y, then jogged home. Roomies say, "Hey, we're going out for really good Thai appetizers and frou-frou cocktails, wanna come?"

Again, hell f-ing yeah.

So yeah, went out AGAIN, and this time had a whole lot of great appetizers (I'm salivating just thinking about them) and two Mojitos. Ladies and gentlemen, these were the most amazing Mojitos ever. There was a veritable GARDEN of mint leaves in them.

Today I have a tummyache. Gee, I wonder why. There may be such a thing as too much good food.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I've gone and done it

I've become one of those people who talks to other people about teething and diapers and heat rash and onesies.

And I'm just the babysitter/mom's friend.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Limits of Tevas

I've always been of the "I can wear my Teva sandals anywhere, for any amount of time." Well, apparently, a walking marathon is well outside the limits of said Tevas.

They caused some nasty-ass blisters on the pads of my feet... which burst at mile 16. Great fun.

So, anyway, don't leave your walking/running shoes in Alaska if you're going to do a walking marathon, unless that walking marathon is IN Alaska, in which case, you're golden.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Holy Crap

Went to a friend's baby's first birthday party at Pizza Luce in downtown Minneapolis. It's amazing where you can now have kids' birthday parties now that smoking's illegal in public buildings... my feelings on the subject are complex, so I won't get into it...)

There were FIVE babies between the ages of 6 months and a year. Plus one pregnant woman. In a group of about 20 or so. For a good chunk of time, I was the only non-with-child woman there. Freeeeaaaaaky maaaaan. Not bad, necessarily, but freaky. Soon another woman showed up and I had someone to not talk about diapers to. Not that I don't spend a lot of time thinking about Babysitting Baby's diaper, but since she's not mine, I don't feel the need to worry about her diaperswhen I'm not actually in the act of changing them.

Well, anyway, it was fun. Had a few bears (Bell's Oberon, their current Seasonal Beer... not too shabby, but I'm depressed that companies have comparatively light "Seasonal Beers," ,but alas...), chatted with some old friends, met some new people, blah blah blah...

And on a totally separate note... Is there a 12-step program for cutting off the Cinnamon Altoids habit? They are my personal crack cocaine. Seriously, I can't stop. I just got my current tin today and I'm closer to being empty then I'd like to admit.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Just a warning

I'm not going to post much this summer, I don't think... at least not as prolifically as I did during the school year. I know, you're probably saying THANK GOD. THAT CHICK NEVER SHUTS THE *$&# UP.

Few reasons for my anticipated slowdown in production...

1. Babysitting for a 6 month-old is a little time-consuming. She's napping now, but was NOT happy when Mom wasn't around and she had to drink from a bottle, which is NOT her most favoritest thing in the world. We even wrote a little song titled "Bottles Suck, Boobies Rule," but it didn't seem to soothe her all that much. Go fig.

2. When not babysitting, I'll likely often be drinking and hanging out with friends, which does not need to be chronicled for future generations.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

So... Two Days In...

Yeah. There has been beer on multiple occasions, but thus far no drunkenness. There has also been one gin and tonic and more meals eaten out than the past ten months put together. All the options are almost too much. I found myself staring at restaurant menus and wanting one of everything. Mostly things with bacon. We never get bacon in the village. I never really had a big love for bacon, but apparently, I missed it.

I'll admit it, I miss village life in some ways. There is just SO MUCH going on, especially in the Twin Cities. I had to drive a rental car away from the MSP airport this afternoon and it was just too much visual stimulus, too fast. Driving at the airport flustered me back when my driving reflexes were honed to a citified level of competence, just think how bad it was this afternoon. I was scared-old-lady-white-knuckling it on the steering wheel. I seemed to get back into the driving groove after a few minutes, though.

I'll miss village life, but it's going to be a great summer. I'm babysitting for a friend's kid three days a week, and in exchange get to live in her house in Minneapolis, which is right where I want to be.

Random: I just looked up at the ceiling in the room I grew up in (well... from 5th grade on...), and the glow-in-the-dark stickers that I put on the light fixture are still there, as is the little fuzzy dude (remember those? little puffball with feet and googly eyes?) I stuck up there. Suppose those'll have to go if my parents ever move...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Briefly and without grammar

Arrived safely and without traumatic incident in MN. All is good. Moderate amounts of beer have been consumed at various Minneapolis establishments. Further update to follow. Time to sleep.


Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday, dear Sara
Happy Birthday to me.

I would like to congratulate Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines for managing to get me all the way from Bethel to Minneapolis without once offering me a real meal. Not that airline food is any good, but sheesh.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Food, Mostly

Just made my last flight reservation for tomorrow (the little hop between the village and the hub city, Bethel). Other Teacher #2 and I will be flying out at 12:30, which will give me three hours, weather permitting, to go to the bead store (they have a great selection I've yet to find equalled Downstates) and grab some food for the journey.

Speaking of food, I attended a birthday feast for one of our school aide's daughters. There I had what will probably be my last taste of akutaq (eskimo ice cream), walrus, seal, caribou, and dried smoked salmon strips where you have to peel them off the skin. Diet food it ain't, but I've really developed a taste for it... even the "weird" stuff that I only tried for the sheer adventure of it.

Seal meat is surprisingly "meaty" (as opposed to fatty) and not at all what I would have expected, at least when cooked up in a pan. Walrus, on the other hand, is unlike anything I've ever eaten. It's so... smooth. So many dense (and probably horrifically fatty, but who's countin?) calories... I ate a little around noon yesterday and wasn't hungry until well after 7. Caribou is a lot like venison. Dried smoked salmon strips are the beef jerkey of the Eskimo subarctic. No wait, better. Jerky is a pain to eat because it's so tough, but dried smoked salmon strips (or simply "strips" as they're known in village English) is fun. Grab a hold of the meat with your teeth and hold on to the skin. Now peel. It takes a certain flair... I'm now to the point where I get everything off but the skin. Dogs LOVE the skin for a treat, but only if they're outside dogs, because salmon skin dog farts are the epitome of disgusting.

Christ, I have been an obnoxiously prolific blogger over the past week. If anyone actually reads all this, kudos to you, but I certainly don't expect everybody to do so. For me, it's been a sort of personal housecleaning of my thoughts... hence the stream-of-consciousness style writing.

This should be my last post for a few days. I fly out tomorrow, weather permitting, at 12:30-ish. I'll turn 26, assuming the flight boards on time, at 12:07am... 48 minutes before my flight out of Anchorage is set to depart. I'll make it to the Twin Freakin Cities at 11:45 Tuesday morning, Central Time. While it looks like I'll be spending 23 hours in transit, if time zone changes are taken into account, it's only 20. ONLY.

Me out on the ice

Me out on the ice
Originally uploaded by smacca.
Just 'cuz I can finally easily and successfully post pictures, and I like this one, I will make you look at it! I didn't take it, but you can see me out on the ice (the ice being Kuskokwim Bay of the Bering Sea). Roomie, Other Teacher #1, Social Worker (who visits once a week or every other week as he's social worker for several villages) and I took a trip out to the beach back in... March? I don't quite remember. I could easily look up the date on the pic but that would be mucho effort.

I think the picture illustrates the vast weirdness of the beach in winter. There were four of us out there, not a mile from the village, but with the wind whipping and the oddness of the terrain (ice cracked and pushed and pulled and whatnot into odd configurations by the tides), you could just wander away and think you were the only person on the face of the planet. I did just that, and apparently got my picture taken in the process.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


How does packing ALWAYS sneak up on me? Like I haven't been counting the days to summer vacation!

*dutifully but crabbily goes back to laundry and packing and cleaning...*

'Tis the Way it Goes

I'm only now getting to the point where I feel really comfortable with village life. Don't get me wrong... I've been happy all year, with a few normal day-to-day exceptions. I've been happier, really, than I've probably ever been. Having a job I can call a career and a house I can call a home for as long as I want to call it such have given me a sense of permanence I haven't experienced since... wow, probably since high school.

My seven years of pathological impermanence went as follows: Four years of college - different dorm or apartment each year. The year after college, for various reasons that don't need elaborating at this point, I did not have my shit together in the least. Found a job I didn't have much passion for (followed by a job that can only be described as hell on Earth) and an apartment in my hometown. Became pretty miserable after a year, mostly because of hell-job and the fact that none of my friends lived in said hometown. Found a wonderful job in the Twin Cities, took it, moved back. Unfortunately, it was an AmeriCorps job, and those are by definition, to be held for a maximum of two one-year stints. They're also, by definition, below-poverty-level-paying. After that year, I entered the Masters in Education program at the University of Minnesota. Another new house, another occupation (student again).

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I'm ecstatic that I'm staying where I am. Aside from what I need to survive for the summer, I DON'T HAVE TO MOVE MY CRAP! I don't have to get used to a new job next year. I don't have to deal with the stress of change. Woo-freakin-hoo!

Yeah, we'll be getting a lot of new teachers next year. Happens every couple years out here in the bush... there's a big teacher turnover. As a result, next year might be stressful. However, I'm going to already know 90% of the students I'll be working with. The vast majority of the new kindergarteners have at least one brother or sister that I already know, if not teach. One year being the same as the last (in some ways) is not necessarily a bad thing.

Yes, definitely less stress this way.

Friday, May 20, 2005

For the record

Mom and Dad!
Originally uploaded by smacca.
I have two very awesome parents. Awesome in the way that normal, regular people can be amazing parents. Anyway, they did a great job raising us and never wavered in their support. I owe them more than is humanly possible to repay (and I'm not just talking about money).

Side note: Aren't they cute?

And did I just refer to someone in my family as "normal" and "regular?" Wow.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


As I may or may not have remembered or felt like posting, I met secret weight goal #1 about a month ago. Since then I have neither lost nor gained any weight... which I guess is neither good nor bad news.

I'd love to work out, I really would. As little talent as I have for it, I came to enjoy running quite a bit a few years back. And I could totally run here. Unlike other villages in the Y-K Delta, we've got a pretty extensive system of roads. Most other communities just have boardwalks. It's a trade-off, though, because those other (smaller) communities, for the most part, have flush toilets in their homes, an unimaginable luxury for all but a few lucky souls here.

But this just isn't a running kind of place. Well, that's not entirely true. I coached cross country last fall (Wow, remember that? My first or second blog entry? So long ago...), and the kids on the team loved running. They even wanted to continue holding practices after all the meets were over and done with. So people here like to run. However, when I suggested that they run on their own or in small groups, they looked at me like I was crazy. "So embarrassing," they said.

I've gone out jogging a few times, but it's such an oddity that it generally attracts so many kids that I'm forced to either be rude and ignore them (which I don't want to do because they're good kids, for the most part), or stop and talk. That someone would just go out for a run for the hell of it is something that I have to take the time to explain. Add that to my generally lazy personality and you've got a recipe for tub-o-lard.

Soon I'll be back in the Lower 48, where running doesn't attract a small throng of pint-sized curiosity seekers. Then I'll have to either get my act together or find a new excuse.

Hopefully I'll get my act together. I DID register for a sprint tri in July, and given my lack of natural athletic ability, I should probably put in at least a few miles beforehand.


Just taught my last class of the year. Actually, not "taught" as much as "damage-controlled." The kids are pretty wound up.

*Dances around the empty classroom*

*Shakes her groove thang*

*Remembers all the filing she has to do tomorrow and weeps for a brief moment*

*Resumes groove thang shaking*

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

This Does Not Bode Well

In honor of the new Star Wars movie opening tonight (which Roomie will get to see, since she has to go to Anchorage for a meeting; I have to wait until I get back Downstates), I thought I'd take one of those silly online quizzes to see who I am. Turns out...

Take the quiz: "What Star Wars Character Are You?"

Anakin Skywalker
Watch out for your could get you into trouble the way it did Anakin. You have enormous potential to be a great Jedi, but stress has made the dark side seem that much more inviting...

Great. Destined for the Dark Side, it would seem. Oh well, at least I get to die an honorable death saving my son and the future of the universe.

I'm cautiously hopeful when it comes to this last Star Wars movie. The first two prequels sucked donkey wang, but hey, maybe they'll strike cinematic gold this time. I've heard good things, I guess. Kevin Smith (of Clerks fame) said good things, and I like his movies, so maybe, just maybe...



Monday, May 16, 2005

Somewhere Inside

Deep inside the heart of every instructor, even the most honey-voiced sweetheart of a pushover teacher, likes the Evil Psycho Bitch Teacher. Most of us are disciplined enough that our students rarely, if ever, have to meet Evil Psycho Bitch Teacher. We can be Evil Teacher, we can be Psycho Teacher, or even Bitch Teacher, but we keep Evil Psycho Bitch Teacher hidden deep within the caverns of our souls. I occasionally catch a glimpse of the Evil Psycho Bitches (and men can be bitches, too, just as frequently as women) I could be, and that glimpse is generally frightening enough to whip me back into shape.

Today, the Evil Psycho Bitch Teacher catalyst was... wait for it... KIDDIE PROM.

So all students who weren't old enough to go to prom (5th grade and under... although we have some pretty darn old 5th graders) get to dance and eat cookies and drink Kool-Aid in the gym for an hour. So you have cute little innocent (heh heh heh) kindergarteners and 13 (!) year-old 5th graders and everything in between, all sharing a space. The kindergarteners want to jump and dance and hit balloons around. The 13 year-olds are generally *ahem* behaviorally and academically challenged, and want to (a) sneak out the back door, (b) whine that I'm not playing rap music, or (c) push the little kids around.

Somehow I ended up dealing with the worst. Then the sound system went all wonky. Then kids were climbing on the stage. I'm not sure why, but today it was just too much for me.

Evil Psycho Bitch Teacher made a brief, if spectacular, appearance. Luckily, I was able to contain her under a merely stressed-out veneer until I was alone in the closet of a room containing the stereo equipment. Well, almost contain it. One student who I caught trying to sneak out the back door probably didn't deserve as harsh a reprimand as I gave her, but then again, she WAS trying to sneak out of school, so I don't feel too bad.

Anyway, it's over. Next year, if I have my way, there will be no Kiddie Prom. If they want to have some kind of party, fine, but I'm not in charge. Kindergarteners and 13 year-olds do NOT enjoy the same things. Throwing them in a gym and putting on music is just silly. Who's dumbass idea WAS this?

*takes deep, cleansing breaths*

*turns off Evil Psycho Bitch mode*

Friday, May 13, 2005

Prom, Middle-of-Nowhere Style

Combine your senior prom with your 6th grade middle school dance, and you've got our prom. All students, 6th grade and up, are able to attend. 18 year-old girls in prom dresses they mail ordered and pre-pubescent 6th grade boys, all mingling against a backdrop of the usual bad dance music and an incessant strobe light that is going to drive me to seizure.

Wow, what a fun night.

A beer would really make the night go a lot better. I just keep repeating "10 days to beer, 10 days to beer, 10 days to beer..."

Oh, great. They're playing "Stacy's Mom has got it Going On." Please may I pickaxe out my eardrums? I bet I'd be good at sign language.


Our school held its graduation this afternoon for our two high school graduates as well as our kindergarteners. Kindergarteners in caps and gowns are hella-cute.

Sadly, it doesn't look like we'll have a graduation next year. None of our juniors will likely be ready.


Our junior high looks promising, though... so in a few years, it might be a different story.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

By the Numbers

In 12 days, I will be taking up residence for the summer in a house with TWO flush toilets. The sheer luxuriousness of it boggles the mind. Not just one, but two. Wild.

In 12 days, I will also turn 26.

In 12 days, I will also be allowed to drink beer and other alcoholic beverages again. Actually, in 11 days, because I will get to Anchorage on the 23rd and Alcohol is sure as hell legal there. There's a booth calling me at the Anchorage Airport Chili's Too. For a crappy chain restaurant in an airport, they have a decent beer selection.

In 11 days, I will bid the village goodbye for the summer. But I'll be back. I'm that craz... uh... dedicated. Like I said to my mentor yesterday, "I need this year to be over so next year can start." So goes the cycle of the teacher.

In 8 days I will be done with work obligations for the summer.

In 7 days, the students will be done for the summer. Well, they'll be physically done. Mentally, they've been done for a week already.

In 1 day, our seniors will graduate. A class of two. So it goes up here... They probably started out with 20 or so back in kindergarten...

4 hours until today is over with and I can enjoy the 61 degree weather.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


The state of Alaska has a wonderful (and that's saying a lot when you're talking about state programs) new teacher mentoring program. Basically, they pay veteran or retired teachers to be "mentors" to a whole bunch of first- and second-year teachers. In a lot of other places, you're assigned a teacher mentor who's also currently teaching. This means that it's up to both the new and veteran teacher to (a) give a rat's ass about a mentoring program, and (b) have and set aside the time to meet. In hiring people to STRICTLY mentor, Alaska's facing up to the reality of teaching: if it doesn't affect tomorrow's lesson, it can wait until there is no tomorrow's lesson to worry about.

My mentor is mentor to myself, three other young teachers in my school, plus a bunch of other teachers in other villages. She has taught in rural Alaska for years, and knows her shit. She's not a boss, she's not a student teaching supervisor. She knows that some lessons, on some days, are just not going to be awesome because you just can't take the time to analyze all lessons from every angle. The first day the mercury rises above 60 in the village, you're NOT going to get much done after lunch, unless you (a) are both a sadist and a masochist, loving both to torture and be tortured, or (b) do what a bunch of classroom teachers did today and decided that a science lesson on local birds or plants involving a walk to the river was on the schedule. Sometimes good enough really is good enough. Strive for the best, of course. Just don't get too down on yourself when you acknowledge that a nature walk is going to be much more productive than a classroom lesson on plant parts. At least you acknowledged it.

Anyway, yeah, mentors. Ours, awesome. From what I've heard from teachers with different mentors, theirs are also awesome. They basically gives us what we need. When I was in the middle of my hellish month of language testing, she made photocopies and fetched students. She's sorted books for people. She's taught lessons so we could observe other teachers. So much of my learning this year has come, directly or indirectly, from her.

See? Government programs CAN be productive!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I Really Hate to Brag

... But I only have eight more days of school left. Well, only a half a day left today. And Friday is a half day. Plus next week is a total wash, academically.

I feel a little bad that I'm so excited about the end of school. I love my job. My students are, for the most part, awesome. But damn if I'm not at least as hyper and spacey as my students are.

One of the second graders shot his first goose last week. The "first catch" is a big thing in traditional Yup'ik culture, and it's still celebrated to a certain extent. He certainly had cause to be excited. Students come in every day not wanting to talk about nouns and verbs and vowels and consonants. They want to talk about ducks and geese and cranes and swans and muskrats whatever else they shot the night before. As far as I can tell, the whole of summer is a "getting ready" season, where you hunt, fish, and gather plants. Even now, with our store and its neatly packaged Tyson chicken breasts, people manage to do an extraordinary amount of self-feeding. My students may be poor, but during hunting season, I'd wager they eat better than kids anywhere else.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

What is Your Favorite Tetris Block Shape?

I'm a big fan of the long, skinny one... but I also have a certain affinity for the L and backwards-L.

I have decided that Tetris is the pinnacle of human technology. Think about it. It serves no purpose. It is 100% useless, but posesses a simple genius that keeps us (and by us, I mean me) entertained for long periods of time. It's been around for how many years, and it hasn't lost its entertainment value.

That I can waste hours dropping blocks on a little screen is kinda sad. That I flinch non-voluntarily when I drop a piece and it's not where I thought it would be is even more so.

Its genius lies in its simplicity. There's no "secret" to it. With so many video games, once you beat it, the challenge is over. You've beaten it, you know its secrets, the romance goes out of the relationship, so to speak. There's no "beating" Tetris, I don't think. You play until you lose. Then you play again, and maybe do a little better. You can always do a little better. Like playng Scrabble, you can learn little mental tricks and hone your technique, but your first game is just as challenging as your last.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Some Days

Some days you're the dog, some days you're the fire hydrant.

Bow Before my Old-Maidiness

I found out last night that my last remaining unmarried (close, female) friend from high school is getting hitched on Monday. None of us had heard from her in a while, so it came as a bit of a suock. However that means that I am officially the last single woman from that group (who I really don't see that often, but still...).

I outlasted 'em all! I am the old maid! What do I win? I'm hoping for the trip to Tahiti or a new car.

You know, a hundred years ago, I really would be an old maid. Nowdays I'm just another normal 25 year-old. Is it our lengthened lifespans that are pushing the marraige age back? The fact that women are more educated, more independent, and less likely to need to get married? The fact that we just don't find lifetime monogamy interesting? Is this a positive or negative trend. I tend to think it's positive, but then again, I'm not married and have never felt a desire to be married to any specific person. I do know a few women who just want to "settle down and get married," but most of the people I know are not looking to just get married. They want to marry the right person, not just marry.

I really think we're "settling" less. Getting married isn't a goal, it's (hopefully) a usually-pleasant result of a good relationship. I really think that this attitude, especially as it relates to the females of the species, is a result of our increased social and financial independence. Single women are able to take care of themselves better and in greater numbers than ever before. We have the luxury of waiting until we WANT to be married... be that at age 20 or age 40. We are not socially ostracized or pitied, at least not by most. Yeah, there's still that "single woman home alone with her cats" myth, but most people recognize it for what it is... a mostly-false myth.

Most of my married friends are happy. So are most of my unmarried friends. My married friends who are happy in their marriage were happy before they got married, and my unhappy married friends were unhappy before they got married. In these modern times, we have more choices than ever... and that makes the results 100% our responsibility. Having not been (and keep in mind I'm talking about the U.S. here; this is by no means global) forced, goaded, or out-of-options-ed into marraige, we succeed and/or fail on our own. If a marriage totally sucks, the couple can CHOOSE to stick it out or they can CHOOSE to end it. We're not forced (at least not to as great an extent as in previous generations) to stick it out for social and financial reasons. Is our divorce rate higher than it was before we had these choices? HELL YES. But I'd bet that there are more happy people (single, divorced, and married) than there were before those choices were available, too.