Saturday, December 23, 2006

The "I'M BACK!" Post, and Year in Review

I arrived safely at O'Hare, four hours behind schedule do to "technical difficulties" (read: water in electronic instrumentation prevents any take-off not deliberately designed to cause death and destruction). The trip was its usual steaming pile of joy, but I'll not speak of that.

We're nearing the end of 2006. And a fine year she was. Allow me a brief review. I'll give you the first sentence I published each month, just because my body has no clue what time it is, and I'm not feeling the least bit sleepy...

January: "And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care..."
Commentary: Dang, this time last year, I was in Hawaii.

February: "The following is plucked from a conversation I had with a class of first grade boys."
Commentary: First graders are cute.

March: "It appears that we're having issues with our district e-mail, and we aren't receiving/sending e-mails out-of-district."
Commentary: Sweet Jesus I live a boring, pathetic life. Is this the drivel I publish? Do you all hate me?

April: "Daylight Savings Time is a load of crap."
Commentary: I stand by this statement.

May: "Loki, meet everyone."
Commentary: That nutty dog has grown up so much since then!

June: "We took Loki (el Dog) swimming yesterday."
Commentary: I find my dog far too interesting, it would seem.

July: "I love our dog."
Commentary: I need a life.

August: "We're in Nunapitchuk."
Commentary: Indeed we were. For quite a while.

September: "Isn't it strange how you can know exactly what your faults/failings are and be completely powerless to fix them?"
Commentary: Yes, isn't it?

October: "PFD Time, that is."
Commentary: That is not a sentence, you grammatically-challenged, ape-brained waste of human protoplasm.

November: "It's getting cold."
Commentary: Wow, really? In ALASKA? I'm glad that I exist to document these unknown factoids and info-nuggets, because otherwise, how would the world know that it gets cold in Alaska in November?

December: "Yup, I'm still here."
Commentary: Or do I just think I'm still here? Is all of existence just an illusion?

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Yup, I'm pregnant with a big ol' sushi baby.

I made it out of the village along with a bunch of friends and coworkers. We checked into the hotel and made a new friend. She teaches in a nearby village that just happens to be in a different district. The Y-K Delta is cool like that... you can meet someone and just become their friend just because they happen to be there. Kinda like when you went on vacation as a child, and would just make friends with whatever kids your age happened to be hanging around the pool. Oh, you didn't do that? It was just my sisters and me? OK.

ANYHOO... We dragged newfound friend went to the VIP restaurant, a new feature in the town of Bethel. Bethel has been blessed and cursed with a plethora of restaurants. Blessed because there are a lot of them. Cursed because they all serve one of two menus, and neither are phenomenal. There's the Americanized Asian menu (they also serve burgers and fries), and the Americanized Greek/Italian menu. They're both adequate if you're in from the village for the weekend and haven't eaten a meal cooked by someone else in months, but don't really do anything for me in the culinary sense.

But now, oh now... there is the VIP restaurant. They serve REAL Korean and Japanese food, including SUSHI.

I ate sushi tonight.

I ate a lot of sushi.

My tummy rounded out to house my yummy little sushi baby.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Variables and a Rant

Variables. Should they all fall into place, I will be leaving Nunapitchuk tomorrow and arriving in Central Wisconsin on Saturday. One overnight at a hotel in Bethel, a three-segmented flight to Chicago, and a wonderful car ride will put me at my parents' house ust in time for Christmas Eve-Eve.

If the weather cooperates, and the airlines cooperate, and O'Hare cooperates (O'Hare is in its own class, as far as I'm concerned, because it is big and scary and in Chicago, which automatically ups its sketchiness quotient), I might just make it without bursting into tears. Then again, I might not. At least this flight isn't going through LAX, like my Hawaii flight did last year. That place is specifically designed to suck all the hopeful human feelings out of you and turn you into a dead-eyed, beaten down, bovine zombie. Yes, a cow of the living dead. A cow of the living dead who is afraid to ask the "customer service" representatives a question because they are scarier than your average homeless crazy dude.

Side note: Can you tell I've had a bad experience at Los Angeles International Airport? This is a rant almost exactly one year in the making. This negativity has been festering for quite a while... and it goes beyond LAX.

The only nice stranger I met at LAX was a cop. A LOS ANGELES POLICE OFFICER. These guys are not known for their sunshiny personalities, and he was the friendly, helpful one of all the people I met.

I'm just too small-town Midwestern, I think. I expect to be treated nicely unless I give cause for anything else. Human "default mode" should be set on nice, with bitch and asshole only coming out when called for. Don't give me attitude if it's not called for. If I'm being friendly and polite, they why the F$*k can't everyone else return the favor?!

*breathes into paper bag*

OK, so, yeah. Wish me good luck tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Still Truckin' (Poste Moste Randome)

Yup, I'm still here.

I realize, I did a pretty good non-existence imitation there for a while, but rest assured, it was all an act.

Shaun and Loki left today for Wisconsin. All told, the trip will take them about 24 hours. I miss my boys, but I know that once the hellacious trip is completed, they'll both be having a fan-freaking-tastic time back in the land of Cheese and Beer.

Me? I'm just trying to get through the last week-and-a-half of school without blowing a mental gasket. It's more difficult than it sounds. Today I took one class out to take pictures to send to our new pen pals. Sounds easy, but it's not. The boys were... well... the only way to describe it is to say "bat-shit crazy," and that's not a term I just throw around carelessly. But we got some fun pictures of "important" village locations (I'll post a few later) and returned home frostbite-free, and with me only having had to shout at the top of my lungs three times.

At this point, my brain has kind of shut down. It's a good thing that I got some good routines established with my classes, because I'm pretty much running on auto-pilot at this point.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pulled Back from the Brink

Yes, my computer has been brought back to life. I even got an OS upgrade in the process... and all my files still exist.


I say huzzah way too much lately.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Snowromp Video!

Kudos to that fiancee of mine for taking the video... I was obviously too busy having fun.


Ah, chasing snowballs. So fun. He'd do this all day if we let him.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What I Bin' Doin'

Whole lotta nothing.

We ate Thanksgiving dinner with a bunch of coworkers on Thursday. It was fun... I like having a non-school reason to hang out with people. We hardly talked shop at all.

Friday happened, Saturday happened, both without any events meriting mention. Then... Sunday. I awoke at 9 with hopes of starting a load of laundry, but alas, the machine was taken. Not one to be dragged down, I got over that extreme let-down and started my day. I looked out the window, and lo and behold, it was a-snowing. Lots.

Noon... still snowing.

Three o'clock... still snowing. Received instant messages and e-mails from coworkers stranded in Bethel. All planes cancelled.

Five o'clock... yup, more white $#!+. Loki loves it. He romped several times today. Pics to follow, and maybe a video if it gets uploaded somewhere. He likes to chase snowballs. I also romped, although I find snowball-chasing slightly less amusing.

It's now ten minutes to ten o'clock in the evening, and the snow is still falling with gusto. The boardwalks have vanished.

Pictures tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

But it's a Dry Heat

Something is wrong with our heat.

It's not broken, in the strictest sense of the word. Pipes haven't frozen, we aren't shivering, huddled under blankets and burning furniture for warmth.

Quite the opposite.

It seems our heat has lost its "off" mode. It's all go, all the time. We opened our one functioning window and put a fan in it, and managed to COOL our home down to a balmy 82. Then we foolishly shut aforementioned window when we went to bed. Fools, damn fools.

I awoke at 3am in a sweaty panic. I was can't-breathe-must-have-air hot. I ran into the living room, opened the window, and stuck my head all the way out. I then moved over to the thermostat to check out the thermo-stats. It was maxed out at 88 degrees.

I slept the rest of the night on the couch in front of the window.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


My hard drive on my trusty iBook G4 (OK, it's not mine, but the school district's... but it's been with me for the past two and a half years!) has been pronounced legally dead.

All my pics... gone.

All my music... gone.

All my old lesson plans... gone.

*Sigh* I was in the process of backing it up so it could be reimaged, but I never quite finished the job.

Alas, I carry on. Why do I feel naked without it?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What is This "Teaching" You Speak Of?

It's Thursday, and we're finally having school. Freeze-up combined with the death of someone in the village kept our attendant population under 60% on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. This meant that I came to school every morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (or at least washed, which is a step in the right direction, I suppose), only to leave an hour and a half later when we confirmed that we had too few students to hold a legal day. Basically, an hour and a half of work that does not count as work. We have to make it up. Grr.

I had a lot of week-long lesson plans set, so I'm just going to scratch them and use them next week. I can't imagine the kids will be too focused today or tomorrow anyway.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Did you vote?

If not, why not?

If your answer to "why not" is "It is not voting day where I live," then I accept your reasoning.

If it is, indeed, voting day where you live, and you did, indeed, answer "no" to my intial question, well, that was your decision I guess.

But I voted. And I got a sticker. Then I got another because the nice voting worker said I could. I like stickers. In that way, I am much like a kindergartner. With voting rights.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Silly River

That silly river is freezing up. A bunch of students live on the other side of aforementioned freezing river, and didn't come to school today because their boats have been pulled from the water.

District sez we must have 60% of our students present in order to call it a school day.

As of 9:40 today, we were 28 students short... so no school.

School tomorrow? Stay tuned, folks.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Quick News Flash

It's getting cold. When it gets cold, liquid water turns into a solid. We call this "ice." Rivers are made of water.

So basically, the river is freezing. More later (hopefully "more" will include pictures).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ten Random Thoughts.

1. Loki (with Bailey's help, but let's be honest, Loki was the primary perp in this crime) nearly gave me a black eye.

2. The first "sticking" snow should be classified as a child drug. They're like a bunch of crack fiends.

3. Hallween is coming. I'm looking for good hiding places from the hordes of candy-seeking small people.

4. Nights are getting loooooooooong. Days are getting shooooooooooooort.

5. I haven't been TRULY sick yet this school year.

6. Now I will probably be sick next week.

7. Booked my flight home for the holidays! Prepare, Lower 48, for my glorious coming! December 23rd, your part of the continent will be bathed in the brilliance that is me. Offer me beer.

8. How is it 2006? I'm getting old.

9. How come kids don't get a nap anymore? In kindergarten and even first grade, we bought carpet squares at Shopko and brought them to school for nap time. What happened to this?

10. I have been eating too much cheese lately.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

He's an Intellectual

Doesn't he look like he's got all the answers, and that the digusting string of drool is 100% intentional?
Thanks to Shaun for doing the captioning.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Throwback to Summer

Summer, up at The Shack, wearing shorts... seems to be a world or five away sometimes...
Is it just me or does my chin look evil and pointy?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


He's not sad, I swear... he was just napping.


It snowed yesterday. Huzzah!

I took Loki for a walk last night. Actually, the boardwalks were covered with about 1/8 inch of frost and ice, so let me rephrase that: Loki took me for a slide last night.

You see, it seems that Loki has decided he is part sled dog. He seemed to enjoy pulling me around the village, only needing me to provide the occasional push to keep us going. He only pulled me off the boardwalk onto the smooshy, wet, cold tundra once, and in his defense, he DID have to potty, so I put that in the win column.

Now this morning, when he decided he had to potty at 6:30, and he made me slip and fall on my butt, I was less generous with my ratings.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

For Real, CONSISTENT (or more so, anyway) Updates

See Shaun's Alaska Blog.

He's just better about this "updating" stuff than I am. My days are all kind of the same. Wake up tired, work eight (plus) hours, go home, eat, watch some TV or do some reading, and hit the sack too late for my own good. I have settled into a routine up here... life just doesn't feel blogworthy on a day-to-day basis.

Now if I could blog about problem students and their individual effects on my mental health... and name names... I could have several new posts every day. Female Devil

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

That Time of Year

PFD Time, that is.

And I finally qualify this year. Huzzah!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Wow, a Week, Huh?

I've been lax. It's been quite the week: one that started out with me cleaning blood off my classroom's carpeted floor, and ended (or is ending), with me somehow getting up an hour early and not realizing I was overly punctual until I was already at school.

I think I will drop into a coma at 4pm today and not come out until 8am Monday morning. Is that OK?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Football Chick

Rock on with your bad self. I like the pink socks touch... keeping her femininity while playing with the boys.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Slackereous Maximus

Yup, that's me. Sorry 'bout that.

I've had a lot of wouldn't-that-make-a-great-picture moments, but have never remembered to take my camera with me anywhere.

Yesterday morning, for example. I had to ride to Akiuk in the morning for a training, and it was gorgeous... soft morning sunlight, ducks taking flight from the water in front of us, glassy water, and NO CAMERA.

It's a pretty picture in my brain. Too bad I can't draw. :-D

Monday, September 11, 2006

Yeah, What he Said

That Funny Thing That Happened Last Friday

Shaun's just got more patience than me when it comes to typing long sagas involving darkness, smoking motors, and navigational uncertainty.


Apparently a meteor hit near Bethel, and everyone there heard/felt a massive "boom." Or that's the gossip that's making its way around. Others are saying the police were exploding things at the dump.

Who wants to bet on the veracity of these claims?

More later. Talking

EDIT: Got the following in an e-mail. It is the text of a KYUK radio story:

Some residents near Bethel heard what sounded like an explosion early this morning. Many thought it was thunder or a man-made sonic boom. . .As Angela Denning-Barnes from KYUK in Bethel reports, it actually fell from the sky. . .
ADB/SMI midday Monday, September 11, 2006

Bethel police dispatcher, Melanie Barniskis was working the night shift and had stepped out to the deck for a short break at about 5 a.m.. . .The sky was clear and the moon was out, when something caught her eye. . .
CUT 1: 33 secs. “When I looked at it, I saw a huge, white, glowing ball of light, traveling extremely fast, traveling from West to East. And a long, golden, sparkling tail, which covered nearly three-quarters of the sky behind it. As it passed overhead, it began to fall. As it got almost level with my line of vision, the white glowing head seemed to disintegrate, and there was a huge shower of what looked to be sparks or flare-outs, and after that I couldn’t see anymore.”

Barniskis presumed it was a meteor that had broken up in mid-air. She heard a hissing noise when it went overhead, but she didn’t hear a sonic boom like some other people. Back inside the police station, she received several reports from people who had heard something loud, and others who actually felt tremors in Bethel.

Meanwhile, fifteen miles Northeast of Bethel, tribal police officer, Theodore Charles was also taking down reports of a loud explosion that woke people up and shook their houses in the village. . . .A few people reported seeing a red flaring thing that exploded. . .
CUT 2: 15 secs. “the impact was like a loud explosion. And it pretty much, ah, like I said it shook up the West side of town; shook a lot of houses down here.”

Charles says Kwethluk residents didn’t know what had made the ruckus, but the fact that it was the 5 year anniversary of terrorist activity did not escape them . . .
CUT 3: 6 secs. “Well, apparently today is 9-11, and they thought that something else was going on.”

Hans Nielson with the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks says meteors are very localized and usually can’t be seen more than 200 miles away. He says the description of this incident, and the fact that it was seen and heard, makes it possible that it was NOT a meteor, but rather a larger piece of space debris from a satellite, spacecraft, or rocket.

None the less, it was a lifetime dream come true for Barniskis. . . .
CUT 4: “I’ve been a star gazer most of my life, and I’ve gone out to look for meteor showers down in the Lower 48, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

In Bethel, I’m Angela Denning-Barnes

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pretty as a Picture

Nice firey sunset, huh?

We were at school late one evening (a week ago last Wednesday, to be precise) for staff volleyball, and exited the building to the purdiest sunset!

Grabbed my camera and took a shot. The buildings in the foreground are a little too dark, methinks, but Shaun is the PhotoShop king, and I really don't like messing with stuff... mostly out of sheer laziness.

So yeah. View from school porch.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Trying to Try

Isn't it strange how you can know exactly what your faults/failings are and be completely powerless to fix them?

That's what makes them faults, I guess.

I have the best of intentions when it comes to self-improvement, both professional and personal, but old habits die hard. My desk will just always be a mess, and I will just always lose my keys in a painfully obvious place and have to have them pointed out to me by a less-bat$#!+ crazy acquaintance. I will always have a bit of a temper (thanks, Dad) and cry at things that don't require crying (thanks, Mom), and I will always prefer a quiet classroom to a chaotic one.

I can try to manage these less-than-desirable traits, but deep down, I know that's me. I guess it's even better to know those things about myself and not just throw in the towel... but some days I do just that. I just let the desk-mess drive me crazy, but don't pick it up. I have little mini-temper tantrums. You get the idea.

But mostly I try. Or I try to try, which is really better than nothing.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Meet my Pet Peeve, Self-Congratulation

Warning: Self-righteous rant ahead. Proceed with caution and be not taketh-ing me seriously. Remember that this is all obnoxious blowharding from the least perfect person on Earth. On with the rant, then...

I'm sure I'm guilty of it myself.

But you wanna know what I hate?

Braggers. People who just can't stop talking about how great they are, how many totally killer things they did, how people are just so lucky to have them around.

I'm not talking about the honesty of being able to express satisfaction of a job well done. I'm not talking about pride in one's accomplishments. I'm not talking about having a strong sense of self-efficacy. All these things are good... nay, not good... wonderful.

I'm talking about relentless, attention-seeking, boastful bragging.

I had an interaction recently with a person I haven't talked to in a good long while. A coon's age, if you will. I thought we could just chat (online, of course, long distance charges being what they are and me being the cheap bastard I am), catch up a bit, and call it a day. One of those "hey long time no see how ya been whatcha been up to ok been good talking to you see you around" conversations. I only had five minutes, so it should have been.

Instead, I was subjected to what can only be described as an unremitting barrage of self-aggrandizing own-horn-tooting. Long story long... it annoyed me.

And generally annoys me.

Thank you for reading my whiney rant. You may now continue with your regularly scheduled non-cranky life.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Lady, You Are Officially Creepy

Harris: Non-Christian electees will "legislate sin"

Church-State separation a lie, huh? FanTAStic. Where do I line up for my government-issued burqa? Religiously-based government has worked SO WELL in other parts of the modern world, eh?

My favorite part is where she tries to take it back. Sorry, you say it, you own it.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Oh Sweet Hay-zoos beckons. Three weeks back in the bush, and I'm already clicking my way from TV show to movie to book.

I like new books. They are shiny and full of information and their pages aren't all dog-eared.

I like new movies and TV shows on DVD. They hold the promise of much mindless entertainment.

And yet... I like my checking account fat as a christmas goose.

Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Answer: Not Even Two Full Weeks

Question: How long does it take me to catch my first student-borne sickness?


Monday, I'm going to start my Nazi-esque hand sanitizer requirement. Sure, it takes up 30 seconds of instructional time, and since I only have a half hour with each group, that's 1/60th of my total time with them, but dammit, I'm NOT spending another year constantly in some stage (coming-down-with-an-illness, ill, or recovering-from-an-illness... and they can overlap!) of disease.

Please spare me the hand-sanitizers-are-bad-because-they-increase-germ-resistance argument. I know that. I am well aware of it. I agree with it, even. But when you teach 75 separate germ factories per day, have no sink in your classroom, and don't have the time or patience to send them to the bathroom to wash their hands, hand sanitizer is the only option.

It's a good thing kids are cute and endearing, otherwise I wouldn't get within ten feet of them. I would look a bit foolish, not to mention be ridiculously ineffective, teaching from inside a bubble-boy bubble.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Loki punched me in the eye today.

Well, he didn't punch me, he chucked a bone at me.

You see, our darling pooch will play fetch with himself. He'll throw something up in the air, then go after it. It's kind of convenient because he'll just entertain himself.

This morning I was laying on the couch after our walk, 50% napping, 50% planning out my day, 100% enjoying my Sunday. Loki was next to me on the floor, chewing calmly on his bone. All the sudden, BAM, pain in eye. He had merrily tossed his bone into the air above him, not realizing in his doggy retardedness that "the air above him" was also "where Sara is currently reclining."

I did what any self-respecting, grown-up, 20-something woman would do... I immediately burst into tears. It hurt, dammit.

But no harm done. I don't appear to have a big prize-fighter shiner. I can still see. Thankfully, I was half-sleeping, and therefore had my eyes closed.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Wait a Minute

Who are these pint sized people, and why are they in my building?

Could it be the first day of school already?

I like my new school and job (well, the job's a lot like my job last year), but miss my old school and old job.

And school begins... NOW.

At some point I'll get around to a real post, I promise.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Okay, Okay

I've not been very good at updating lately.

I've been busy, and the internet at home isn't the most reliable.

Suffice it to say we're settling in at home and I'm gearing up at school. The summer flew by so quickly... I feel really unprepared for the school year... but it'll be fine, fine, just fine.

Friday, August 04, 2006

We're Here

We're in Nunapitchuk. We've had very little sleep.

More later.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Cooling off

Dog, My Dad, and Me, cooling off on a ridiculously hot day.

Friday, July 28, 2006

No, Floyd, No

TdF Winner Accused of Doping

Not that cycling isn't one of the most obnoxiously doped-up sports around... but come one Floyd, you had us all thinking that cycling had a future in America, post-Lance.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Wisconsin is officially the most average state in the Union.


The Most "Representative" State in the Union: Wisconsin

I guess it makes sense, if you think about it. Rural communities, a big-ish city, a bunch of smaller cities... A fairly education population, but not overly so, elections are usually pretty hotly contested because of the fairly diverse political views you'll find, etc, etc, etc...

If you're gonna be good at something, why not be good at being regular?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Thursday, July 20, 2006


My iPod is broken.

It was sketchy from the start. Occasionally, it's screen would freeze and I would have to let the batteries run out, then power it up again.

But the little bastard's all the way broken now. Tried the oh-so-unhelpful help on the iPod support website, but no go. So while I wanted to take the dog for a walk with some background music, I have instead sat here trying to "reset, restart, rewhatever" this chunk of metal and plastic.

F--- technology. I'm gonna become a Luddite.

Wait, I didn't mean that. Hear me, gods of technology? I was only kidding. Come on, I was frustrated, I was angry... I didn't mean it, really.


Summer is winding down. I know it doesn't FEEL like summer is winding down, but it is.

For me, at least.

Soon, I'll be back to work. Well, new work. Or... the same work, in a different school, in the same district, with some of the same coworkers I worked with my first year of teaching.

I'm gonna miss summer... but when it comes right down to it, I don't LIKE sitting around, despite the fact that I seem to be quite gifted in around-sitting. I get stuck. Then I get lethargic and depressed, which makes me lazy. Then I get more stuck. It's a vicious cycle, really.

These next few weeks should be sufficiently harried and action-packed, so hopefully I'll be well broken out of my slump by the time I head back to Alaska.

Monday, July 17, 2006


My summer.

$10,000 reward for information leading to its return.

Where is the time going?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Oy Vey

Returned from five days at the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

Tired. Much fun was had... much sleep was not. May or may not be several shades darker than I was when I left. Wallet is also considerably lighter.

More later. Must sleep.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Shameless Product Review

The Gentle Leader

I love our dog. I really do. But up until a week ago, I did not love walking him. His general exuberance for life and desire to get to ANYWHERE as quickly as possible (combined with that pesky doggie desire to pull things) made walking 68 (he's grown some in the last month) pounds of canine muscle a little difficult.

I had blisters.

Enter Mr. Gentle Leader. Exit Loki's ability to pull.

Humane, easy-to-use (once you get it on them... it's kinda tricky the first few times), and effective.

My only beef with it (if you can even call it that) is that Loki REFUSES to have anything to do with it when he's not actively walking. It has to be the last step in our "getting ready to go for a walk" routine, or else he'll scrape his nose off trying to remove it. But that's a minor issue really... we've gone from short ten-minute walks that tested my upper arm strength, patience, and ability to keep him from jumping up on random people to 45-minute (more when it's not too hot for the dawg, although he's now mastered the art of drinking from a water bottle) enjoyable strolls around the neighborhood.

Now if only they made a "Gentle Leave that F-ing Cat Alone."

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I Gave In

OK, fine, whiners, I'm on MySpace.


Don't expect great things.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Well Then

I'm a slacker. Sorry for the long time no post.

I spent four and a half days in the wonderful Twin Cities. Drank some beer, crashed on some couches, ate some delicious food, saw some friends... all in all, a successful trip. Some highlights:

1. Saw a woman reading the newspaper while driving on Interstate 94 east of St Paul. Hooray for safety. She WAS reading The Onion, which means she at least has good taste in fake news, but for the love of Zeus, don't go jeopardizing MY life for your satirical periodicals.

2. Got to hear the U.S. Secretary of Education speak. She said the phrase "beach trash." She also had funny square glasses. I realize that it's not like a requirement for the job, but it weirds me out that she was never a teacher. I guess she was a substitute teacher for a while.

3. Found a wedding dress. Whee!

4. (Re)Discovered that radio sucks. The three-plus hour drive home, after I lost the NPR news station out of the Twin Cities, was just a constant one person scan-button-hitting party. I don't think I stuck with a single station for longer than two songs, and I even resorted to listening to country. COUNTRY, for the love of Thor.

5. Visited the "Sears Building," as it is locally known. No, not THAT Sears building... wrong city. Basically, it's a big ol' building on Lake Street at Chicago Ave that has been empty for YEARS. Apparently, someone has finally gotten his/her shit together and done something with it. Apartments on the upper levels and a cool market on the ground floor. Check it out.

6. (Re)Discovered my dislike for driving. Especially in downtown St Paul. Minneapolis may be the bigger, scarier of the Twins, but the blocks are... you know... square and stuff, so navigating is a little more intuitive. St Paul is ridiculous. Seriously. Someone was smoking a little too much of the good stuff when they planned that mess. Or maybe that's the problem... there was no plan.

7. Did I mention I found a wedding dress?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Friendly Reminder

I don't post much in summer.

Lots goes on that could potentially be blog-worthy, but really, who wants to sit in front of a computer all summer?

So, quick update.

1. Attended a very fun concert/festival last weekend. Buncha dirty hippies, it was. :-D

2. Experienced the gut (sort of) wrenching pain of a bladder infection for the first time.

3. Am starting (along with Shaun) dog obedience classes with Loki.

4. Summer is flying by waaaaaaaaaaaaay to quickly, so I therefore am going to get off the computer and stop wasting my time.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Go Genetics Go

We took Loki (el Dog) swimming yesterday.

Holy crap, when they say that Labs are genetically predisposed to retrieving things in the water, they're not kidding. I thought it would be a "with a little training, they learn quite well how to fetch things in the water" thing. Nope. There was no training involved. His introduction to the water involved him accidentally stepping off the end of the dock into the water (the water's high, so it was about three inches below the end of the dock), panicking for a half a second, then swimming merrily around in a circle while we tried to figure out how to get him out of the water, as all exits were blocked by boats.

Then we went to a more accessible place. He deeply appreciated the boat ride... dog after my own heart. We went to a steep sloping "beach" too inconvenient for most swimmers. The amount of fun that dog had was obscene and is probably illegal in Mississippi. He couldn't stop himself. He would be laying there in the dirt, looking ready to drop dead where he lay of exhaustion, but if we picked up his catch toy (to wash the half-inch-deep layer of dirt off of it), he'd jump to attention and hop in circles, ready for another round.

So yes. Obnoxious dog-parent post. My apologies.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

So Apparently...

My dog is terrified of bicycles. Or, at least, he's terrified of my old Specialized Hard Rock. He won't walk past it, but instead tucks his tail between his legs and hides behind me.

What the hell?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Back in Wisconsin

Tired. Hot. Sweaty.

But back nonetheless.

Friday, May 26, 2006


So, I was perusing the Transportation Safety Administration's website, trying to figure out if I'm allowed nail clippers on the plane (I am... and I use them to cut yarn). I noticed the following important safety tip that I shall pass on to you, my faithful (and most likely incredibly bored) reader, courtesy of, and quoted directly from, the TSA:



Babies should NEVER be left in an infant carrier while it goes through the X-ray machine."

Now, I know what you're thinking: 'But Smacca, how will I know if my baby is a terrorist hell-bent on airplane destruction if I don't have it x-rayed?'

Some things, dear reader, you just have to take on faith.

Seriously, People

Over 40 would-be summiters passed up a dying man on Mt Everest. They're focusing on the one guy, the double-amputee, just 'cuz he's gotten the most press coverage previously. But at least his team called someone. That's more than the people who passed before them did.

If you ever, ever, ever have a hobby/passion that allows you to pass up a dying person in the name of said hobby/passion... you're officially in too deep.

One could argue passing up a dying man if your own life were in danger... but passing up a dying man just so you can say you've summited Mt Everest? That, my friends, is f---ed up. Even if he WAS a lost cause, letting a man die alone, struggling for air, with no one at least going through the motions?

Seriously, people... it's a hobby. I know, it's a lifelong ambition, an $80,000 investment, blah blah blah. Grow a heart and cut the excuses. Either you choose to help out a fellow human in his most extreme hour of need, or you choose to put your own recreational ambition first. It's your choice, really... but if you choose the latter, don't be expecting an invite to dinner at my house, because I pick my friends more wisely than that, I'd like to think.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Like, Grody, to the MAX



I thought I'd cook eggs today.


The eggs were within their expiration date.


So I thought I'd fry two up for breakfast/lunch.

*runs to door, hand over mouth*

I cracked the first one.

*cringes at memory*

It was decidedly not within its date.

*all-out vomits*

Seriously, that was gross.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Twist on an old Classic

Like snowball fights?

Wish they weren't so... clean?


Tuesday's Walk

I saw some birds... no clue what kind. Not a bird expert. Sorry for the crappy angle, but the little bastards wouldn't turn around. I sat there for like two minutes, and apparently they just didn't want to look at me, and I didn't have my rubber boots on, so walking around to the other side of the ditch/pond was not an option. I actually saw tons of birds (this being the edge of a wildlife preserve and all), but most of 'em were in flight and very hard to photograph.

Two of the passengers on this pair of 4-wheelers (NO ONE here obeys the no-passenger recommendation on 4-wheelers... they're not recreation; they're transportation) were students of mine, and screamed "HI SARA! HI SARA! HI SARA!" as they zoomed past (at a child-safe speed). Those are not rocks in the water... that's dirty sea ice.

I saw green plant life! Moss, to be exact. And here I was thinking I'd leave on Saturday having seen no non-dormant plant life. Whee!

The mighty, towering trees of Quinhagak!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Midnight Sun(set)

Crappy picture... it's windy out and I just wanted to get it over and done with.

But yup. Midnight. Or just after it, according to my computer clock. Or just before it, according to my camera clock.

Huzzah for sunlight!

Friday, May 19, 2006

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

1. Lookie our new trench. Runs right by my (soon to be former) home.

2. Lookie our new snow.

Now, it was only about an inch of snow, and it's already being beaten down by some rain, but COME ON.

I'm about done with snow.

You know what sucks? I'm gonna get down to Wisconsin just in time for that crappy hot-and-humid action I so despise. I'm gonna COMPLETELY miss out on any semblance of spring as I know (and love) it. Snow to stifling heat... odds are that's what I get. But alas, I shall soldier on...

You know what? Packing SUCKS.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I'm Screwed

Airport authorities to look for signs of stress, bulky clothing

Seriously. I am ALWAYS stressed out when traveling beyond Bethel. 75% of the time I'm near tears. Traveling just frazzles me. They SAY the officials can differentiate between stressed travelers and those with something to hide, but still...

And they're going to look for people wearing bulky coats when it's warm out? FanTAStic. I arrived in and departed from Maui wearing/carrying a very inappropriately bulky down parka. Why? Not because I'm carrying a bomb... BECAUSE I LIVE IN ALASKA AND IT WAS DECEMBER.

Seriously, if these idiots detain me for being characteristically stressed out in my down parka and I end up being late for a flight... ah, who am I kidding? I'd probably just "yes sir" and "no sir" like a good little sheep and end up more stressed out and sweating in my unnecessary down parka.

Because I am, for all my online blowharding, a good little sheep.


Was sick. Vomiting sick.

Now recovering. Discovering that when sick, don't do dishes. Washing dishes.

Have also apparently lost ability to put subjects into my sentences.

Monday, May 15, 2006

8/23/1995 - 5/13/2006

Carl Abalama.

Evil grinner, fierce dodgeball competitor and all-around good kid.

I guess there's not much to say. I had him for an hour (or half-hour) a day for the past two school years. He always had something to say, and would have much preferred spending the entire hour telling me stories.

It's just... unreal.

Question for the Non-Nailbiters

So, I managed to quit biting my nails. I'm sure I'll start up again soon, as I always do, but for now, I have fingernails.

But I have a question for the long-term nail growers. I've been a nail biter since at least the age of 8, so I really just have no experience.

How the hell do you keep them looking clean? I mean, is this some sort of ongoing process? Seriously, I start out my day, after my shower, with nice, clean fingernails. By the end of the day, they've got stuff under 'em. Heck, by LUNCH, they're dirty. What the hell? Why does anyone even have nails if they're this much effort?

Seriously, if cleaning my nails is going to become just another useless task in my life, I'm just going to go back to biting them. If, unlike the rest of my body, they cannot be kept clean by a daily shower, they are not worth the effort. Just. Not. Worth. It.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

So Basically

Stuff kinda sucks right now.

One of my students passed away. Hunting accident. 4th grader. First day of summer vacation.

I mean, come on. That's just not fair. I know, I know, life's not fair. That's where you take pigs and horses in the summer.

I guess it hasn't sunk in all the way yet. I'm still pretty... detached, all things considered.


Sad, sad day.

More later.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Cue the Music

Everyone under the age of 18 (with the exception of a few teachers' kids) has left the building.

Teachers have to come back tomorrow.

Then we're done.

Upon completion of tomorrow's work day, I'm planning on remaining in my PJs for 24 solid hours before I contemplate my next move, which will likely involve fishing.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Sometimes someone makes an inappropriate comment.

Maybe something racially slanderous. Not just "non-PC and honest and edgy," but downright rude.

And sometimes they say it to you in that "Hey, we're both white folks and we're the only ones in the room," tone of voice.

And sometimes maybe you stand there dumbfounded, not sure quite how to reply to this person who is, after all, a professional colleague.

And sometimes, afterwards, you think of the perfect comeback, and lament your slack-jawed gaping. And you (and by you, of course, I mean I) just keep hoping they say something again, because you have an intelligent, witty, and totally snappy comeback all saved up, and no moment of assholitude upon which to release it.

But you still wish you'd thought of it earlier.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Saturdays are School Days

OK, just today.

We missed a day a while back due to sketchy gas smell permeating the building, so today we're having our make-up day.

It's kinda nice... the high school is putting on a carnival for the little kids. I'd rather be at home sleeping, though.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I've written about him before.

He points out "the dick" on Curious George, he asks about tomboys and Presidents' Day and what not. He's a smart kid. We'll call him Squeaks because of his unique voice.

The other day, I was walking home, enjoying the fact that spring seems to have finally sprung. I see him in front of me, idly swinging and tossing an unknown object up into the air and catching it. It looked like these cool new football thingies the school got for Physical Education that are inside a sac with a long handle so you can just toss 'em around. I thought perhaps he had confiscated one for his own personal use.

"Squeaks, what are you tossing around?" I inquired innocently.

"Um, I'm just playing," he replied, hiding the item behind his back.

"Squeaks, what is that?"

"Um... it's a... um... I'm going over to MD's house to play." A skilled deflector he is not.


"Um... it's a... dead bird."


I got a peek at aforementioned dead bird. This wasn't a freshly-killed specimen. My guess it was killed last fall, but never got claimed by its killer, and it sat frozen all winter, to be exposed by the spring thaw.

Then today, he says to me (and his entire class), "Sara! I know how to spell a bad word. F-U..."

I screamed, "NO!"

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cannot... Resist...

Must... post... dog... pics.

Of course, if a certain fiancee would provide me with more pictures, I'd have a better alternative. But... I like this picture, so it OK.

And yes, at some point, I will stop posting dog pics. But don't hold your breath... it might take me a while to run out of steam. I'm kinda infatuated at the moment. Worry not, I'll be getting my camera back from the high school journalism class soon, so I'll be inundating you with spring tundra pics. Maybe the main road will wash out again, like it did last year. That was totally fun and photo-worthy.

But back to my (OK, our) dog. He really couldn't be a whole lot cuter if he tried. I mean, sure... he could. But it would be difficult. Highly effortful.

I'm one of those obnoxious pet owners, aren't I?

Wait, don't answer that.

Nah, go ahead. I'm OK with it.

Go, Granny, Go

Still pimpin' after all these years.

Wow. Just... wow. I hope when I'm 104, I'm still able to pull in 30-something men.

And on a side note... 21 husbands? Is she some kind of geriatric Black Widow?

Monday, May 01, 2006


Loki, meet everyone.

Everyone, meet Loki.

All acquainted? GOOD!

Seriously... I'm so very pumped to have a dog. I've wanted one for a while, but am glad I waited.

Now I just have to get back to Wisconsin so I can actually MEET him face-to-muzzle... but I'll take Shaun's word that he's cool. And... we're gonna love him a LOT, so that makes him a cool dog already.

Yay for dog!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Whoda Tunkit?

The internet doesn't know everything.

I've been into baking bread this year... or at least I've been TRYING to be into baking bread.

I've scoured the internet for a good wheat/white bread... and it's always come up missing something. Or they required things I don't have... online recipe-posters seem to have a thing for "let's see how cool and pretentious I can make my recipe!"

I found a wonderful recipe today. Guess where? ON THE SIDE OF THE WHEAT FLOUR BAG.

Simple. Yeast, water, sugar (a tiny bit), whole wheat flour, white flour, salt, tiny bit of olive oil. It's not rocket science, apparently. It's baking. My well-founded phobia is cured.

I'm eating it now. Wait, make that past tense. I just ate two slices. Have now moved on to trying to refrain from consuming a third.

I had a rough day. I deserve another slice... don't I?

*backing away from the bread*

*going to sleep*

And on a completely different topic: TGIF, motherf@#%ers.

Well I'll be Damned

Birth control for men may be on its way.

Think American men will ever be man enough to use it?

Political Side Note

I am, for the first time in my life, going to write my legislators and the president regarding this legislation:

Native American Languages Preservation Act of 2006 (Introduced in House)

Basically, it would support the creation and maintenance of Native Language programs in public schools. I happen to think that's a good thing.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Look at This

This afternoon, Shaun went to visit what will be...


Our new dog!

Meet Loki (or that'll be his name once he's officially "ours"). Chocolate Lab.

Cutie, huh?

We think so.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

But it's Just the Flu!

I recently read a book called The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History, an account of the 1918 "Spanish Flu" (although it was probably American in origin, not Spanish) pandemic. The book itself was kind of a let-down... I was hoping for more of an on-the-ground description of what society went though, and it focused more on the "major players," that is, the scientists and other important folks who played a part. I don't remember any of their names and quite frankly did not care which one was a social outcast, which one blah blah blah... So, not what I was looking for, but all in all, pretty interesting.

(Side note: Why can't I read junk fiction like a normal twenty-something?)

Essentially, though, I came away with one thing: AN INCREDIBLE FEAR OF THE FLU.

Seriously, that's some scary shit.

Especially when you live in a place voted least likely to have access to Tamiflu (well, OK, so there wasn't a vote...).

Especially when the current strain is nicknamed "Bird Flu" for a damn good reason and you live on the edge of a wildlife refuge seasonally housing a gazillion migratory birds, and Asia ain't that far away, as the crow... er... duck flies.

Especially when you are a fairly healthy 20-something... a member of the group most likely to be killed by these strains of the flu since they essentially turn your very responsive immune system on hyperdrive and your body's response kills you.

Especially when your housemate has been vomiting for three days and you have a mild headache.

How do you spell "hypochondria?" How about "paranoia?" Or "illegal Mexican pharmacy?" Because according to a recent study, there ain't anywhere near enough antivirals in the US to deal with a serious influenza pandemic.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


I might have some fun news to share in a while.

Stay tuned, folks.

ETA: No, Sara R., I'm not preggers.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Congratulations, Catholic Church

Only a quarter of a century behind.

Cardinal: Condoms are 'Lesser Evil' vs AIDS

Of course, you still can't use one to prevent pregnancy. That would be just WRONG. What our planet totally needs is more babies.

It Happens

Shit, that is. The accumulation thereof.

No, this it not another honey bucket post.

I'm packing. For the first time in my life, I do NOT want to be pulling an all-nighter, finishing up my last-minute packing.

I've found that the list of "crap I own" has grown. My book collection, it seems, has been mating and reproducing in the night. My yarn has been having an all-out orgy.

I like to think I'm not a superficial, consumerist, I-am-what-I-own kind of person, but the boxes I'm accumulating speak for themselves...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

RE: The Whole Duke LaCrosse Team Rape Thing

I won't comment on the case. I just want to clarify one thing.

LaCrosse is still a collegiate sport? LaCrosse is still a sport, at all? LaCrosse is anything more than a mid-sized college city in western Wisconsin?

I thought it had gone the way of Field Hockey: relegated to elementary school P.E. class and bad movies about unrealistic high school experiences (*cough*American Pie*cough*). Imagine my shock to find that it's still played by grown-ups (or by college students who are... well... legally grown-ups, anyway).

Learn somethin' new every day. In my 26 years of life experience encompassing three states, two universities, and many, many cases of beer, I have yet to meet a single person who plays LaCrosse... unless I've met some closet LaCrosse player who won't admit their true LaCrosse-playing nature. Apparently, however, there are at least enough players to field at least one team at Duke University, because they're in big, big trouble. Whoda thunk it?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Confused, so Confused

It's windy. It's cloudy. It's 17 degrees. It's also light until 10:30pm.

My body is so very confused.

Many of the migratory birds have returned from their more southerly wintering locations. Ptarmigan hunting has begun. Spring activities are happening.

And yet I don my winter coat every morning. And yet I have to warm up my 4-wheeler for the drive into work. And yet I wear boots... not puddle-splashing rubber boots, mind you... winter boots.

It would be so much more bearable if the sun would not taunt us so. "Look," it says, "I am shining excessively! I radiate warmth from 7am until 10:00 pm! I mess up your sleep schedule! And still you sit indoors! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

I received three books from today. I have already finished one. Now, in my bill-paying adulthood, I understand why my mother complained about buying me Babysitters Club books when I was in fifth grade. Mom, you were right... buying a book that I'm just going to read in one night IS a waste of money. Not that it'll stop me. Everyone has their little addictions. But dammit, it's April 18th. I should be outside.

Apparently this is how the weather always used to be... but it hasn't been "normal" like this in quite a few years. So... yay?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Thanks for the Reminder

I just realized (with the help of a certain former Roomie who is visiting, and now stuck for the evening) that I never made my "announcement."

ANNOUNCEMENT: I am moving to a different village next year.

*End of Announcement*

Friday, April 14, 2006


A friend (former coworker) visited last night. More are coming today. Whee!

Last year, I was perpetually asked if I was said visitor's sister. "No," I would reply, but the rumors persisted. We're both tall and white... we MUST be related!

Anyway, she's visiting. She came to school today.

The students mostly recognize her. A few, who never had her as a teacher, RECOGNIZE her but can't place her.

So they ask her, "Are you Sara's sister?"

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

But Really

It can stop snowing any day now.

I asked our kindergarten teacher when she thought it'd stop snowing. She responded, "When it's ready."

It did not give me hope.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sometimes You Wanna Help

Location: My classroom.

Event: State Standardized Test

Question: Can't put it online, but the second part was "How do you know that is true?"

Student's answer, written in Big Scary Official Test Book That Goes to State People for Scoring: "I know because I'm smart."


Monday, April 10, 2006

It's a Necessity

Patience is a good thing in a teacher. It's a requirement, actually.

I have NO patience today. The moment I walked in the door, students started annoying me. I don't have the capability, it would seem, to respectfully but firmly correct their behavior. I have to work very, very hard to control my face lest I inadvertently shoot daggers with my eyes directly into the skulls of unforunate runners-in-the-hall.

Oh, and I got my standardized "Am I Smart Enough to be a Teacher?" test results today. Turns out, I am capable enough at bubble-filling to continue in the education field. I am capable enough at bubble-filling to get an idiotic "Certificate of Excellence" for placing in the top whatever percentage of test-takers... as if that somehow makes me a better teacher. Funny thing is... due to the inane complexities of the "Highly Qualified" system under No Child Left Behind, I had to take a test in an area (Elementary Education) outside my area of licensure/training (English as a Second Language). So... I passed a test that doesn't relate ONE TINY BIT to what I was trained to teach.

Somehow that makes me "Highly Qualified" as a K-8 classroom teacher, despite the fact that I do not hold a teaching license for a K-8 classroom. Now THAT was a good use of my money and time.

Note: I apologize for my horrific mood. Hopefully tomorrow I will be back to spouting sunshine and rainbows out of my arse as per usual.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I Have Weird Friends

It's OK, though, because I too am weird.

They send me links like this.

If you find Silence of the Lambs icky, please don't clicky.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Do You Like Electricity?

Either we're behind the times up here, or ahead of them.

Rising fuel costs lead to power rationing in villages

Hope this isn't a warning of things to come elsewhere.

Standardized Testing

Standardized testing makes me want beer.

Not after school, to unwind. Right now.

I'm testing eight third graders, five of whom do not read or write in English. The task of to keep them on task for a 66-question test involving the reading of long passages is enough to drive one to drink.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Daylight Savings Time is a load of crap.

It now officially gets dark at 10pm. The abruptness was too much for my body to handle, and I was awake until 1am last night.

Is it naptime yet?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Gosh, I'm Boring

The following are the options on an Arizona fingerprint clearance card I have to fill out for my K-8 teaching license program:
  • Bald
  • Black
  • Blonde
  • Brown
  • Gray
  • Orange
  • Pink
  • Purple
  • Red or Auburn
  • Sandy
  • White
I mean, I know they're going for total accuracy, but what if my hair is best classified as "aquamarine?" Or "chartreuse?" What about "baby-poop green?" The ever-popular multicolor look... "burnt sienna with rose highlights?"

How boring did I feel, checking the "brown" box.

*Looks around for some Kool-Aid with which to dye hair to make fingerprint application process more exciting*

Alaska Sunset

Sunset pictures as promised/threatened yesterday. Not the greatest composition, but cut me some slack. I'm an amateur at best... and sunset pics are HARD!

Taken at the old airport, standing in the middle of what used to be the runway (this, I realize, means nothing to those of you who have never been to Quinhagak).

Also at the old airport, post-sunset. The flatness of the tundra makes for some fun sunsets. The sun here rises over the mountains... one of these days I'll grab a few shots of that. Perhaps this weekend... I'll ride out towards the NEW airport early in the morning and play photographer wanna-be.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Picture Day

I have been far too chatty lately. All talk.

This evening, I took a walk. I also took 48 pictures. Don't worry, I will not subject you to 48 pictures. Just a few. Have at 'em:

Very boring, stupid picture of the back of the washeteria. However, witness the water in liquid, puddle-based form. Outside. This indicates warm temperatures.

I just kinda like this picture. Call me morbid, if you must.

Just sittin' on a truck, that's all. Just sittin'.

Thanks for indulging me. Tomorrow, just so you're aware, I plan on subjecting you to poorly-taken sunset pics. I know, you can't wait.


Sprung, it has. Spring, that is.

Since 8am yesterday, when my thermometer read a balmy, sweaty, scorching zero, our little part of Southwest Alaska has, to a collective sigh of relief from its residents, begun to thaw. 40 degrees, still, at 7pm. Aah.

Maybe it's just a mental trick, but the sky LOOKS warmer. Clear, cloudless blue, just like it was on the coldest day of winter... but different. Bluer. Less icy. Not sending shivers down my spine at the sight of it. But, like I said, it's probably just a mental trick. I'm sure if you showed me a picture of one and a picture of the other, I couldn't tell the difference.

It doesn't smell like spring... or at least not like spring back home. Spring here smells different, I guess. But the air is charged just the same. Everyone's ready for the weather to change. Kids were "monkeybarring" with no coats on. People have already brought back ptarmigan for plucking and eating.

I'm sure we'll get another cold snap or two before spring springs for real. But for now, I'm going to head outside, enjoy the fact that the sun is still shining happily at 7pm.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Mad Props

Just like to give a big "Way to go" to my cousin David's Wichita State basketball team. They were defeated by George Mason (who went on to upset U Conn) in the Sweet 16... but seriously... WAY COOL.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Pizza and a Jaw Injury, or Wacky Good Fun

This past weekend, I traveled north and west to the village of Nunapitchuk, AK to visit some friends (Former Roomie being one of them). Wacky good fun.

Upon my arrival, the wacky good fun ensued. Well, OK, actually, it didn't, at least not right away. I went to my friends' school and hung out while they completed their report cards and prepared for parent-teacher conferences. Pretty much what I would have been doing at home, although not really.

(I'm leaving out part of the story here to be re-told at a future date)

After the work day ended (two hours, of course, after the official "work day" ended, because... well... we're just like that), the wacky good fun continued at a birthday feast for a young child.

And was that enough wacky good fun for one day? No, no it wasn't. Not by a long shot. For next, we hopped on a snowmachine and rode to Kasigluk-Akula to watch a wee bit of the Native Youth Olympics (NYO) competition being held there.

Returned home to friends' house, slept like the dead.

Awoke and entertained myself at Friends' house for a while. Went and loitered at the school while Friends parent-teacher-conferenced. Ate bacon cheeseburger. Wacky good fun, indeed.

(part of story again edited out to be told later)

Friend from Kasigluk-Akiuk arrived. Sledding outing ensued. On a given run down sled hill, bumped heads with a child. Aforementioned child hopped up, said "Ow," and ran back up the hill. I, on the other hand, was left with a jaw that didn't want to open or close all the way. For the rest of the evening, yawning and chewing were quite painful. Wondered if perhaps I ought to go to the doctor. Wacky good fun was slightly tempered by vague possibility of having jaw wired shut.

Made pizza. Actually, munched on toppings while others made pizza. Ate pizza. Again, wacky good fun, but made slightly less wacky, good, and fun by jaw pain.

Went to sleep.

Awoke. Jaw pain still present, but much less pronounced. Now felt like teeth were able to fit together all the way rather than being a little "off" due to jaw oddities, decided not to go to doctor.

Got ride to Bethel on snowmachine driven by Former Roomie. Wacky good fun, once again, although the trail was a bit rough from all the blowing... A smooth trail would have made it wackier, gooder, and funner. Got to drive for a while, but my perpetual lack of circulation to my extremeties (read: very cold hands and feet all the damn time) commanded that I relinquish driving duties after a few miles.

Waited at the airport for 3 1/2 hours... but it wasn't weather-related for once. Decidedly neither wacky, good, nor fun, but there WAS a cute baby to look at.

Returned home, tired, but unable to sleep.

And so I type.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

If I Don't Say No, is it a Yes?

So... apparently I'm my school's union representative.

I have no clue how this happened.

Well, OK, I have a clue.

See, of a teaching staff of 15, only two of us are union members. In most districts, union membership is required... and that's exactly why I opted for union membership. I'm one to bitch a lot if forced to do something, but I'm generally pretty good at volunteering for stuff. Other Union Teacher (OUT because intials are fun) is a veteran staff with a lot on his plate; I am a second-year teacher only one inch further from drowning than I was last year.

So there are two of us. Most sites have a lot higher membership, but we don't. Every site is supposed to have a "site rep," but we don't. OUT was somehow "picked" as our site rep, even though he neither volunteered nor fell victim to nomination. He started getting e-mails and such. He e-mailed them back, telling them in no fond terms that he was NOT our site rep.

So... they started sending me the e-mails.

I haven't had the guts or the need to correct them. I can be more than a little anti-confrontational.

I just hope they don't ask me to, you know, do anything.

English of the Village

“Get me.”


That was it. Two words made up one end of an entire conversation. A student wanted a parent to come pick her up at school. I had to guess at what the other end of the conversation sounded like:

Ring, Ring


“Get me.”



It’s not Shakespeare. It’s Village English. It’s beautiful. It’s quirky and clipped and utilitarian. Allow me a hypothetical “standard” English (Wisconsin) version of the same conversation with my maternal parental unit:

Ring, Ring


“Hi, Mom, it’s Sara.”

“Hey honey.”

“Um, could you come pick me up from school? It’s freezing out and I don’t want to have to walk.”

“Sure, no problem. Be waiting outside the front doors like usual.”


“No problem. See you in a bit.”




If you think about it, there’s so much unnecessary information in that conversation. Of course my mother knew it was me… or at least that it was one of her daughters, since we all sound the same. And, duh, I’m at school. If I’m not at school, I’m in trouble, and why would I be calling her to pick me up from wherever I went when I skipped school? And, duh, it’s cold and that’s why I don’t want to walk. And if she always picks me up in the same place, then why clarify? So, really, the “nonstandard” dialect in this case is much more user-friendly. Not that it'll change the way I talk.

Language is fun.

I am a nerd.

Stream of Consciousness

Shaun is gone (Hey! Rhyme!). I put him on a plane this morning. Actually, I put him in a van to go to the plane. Actually, he put himself in the van, I just smooched him good-bye (sorry, Mom and Dad, I really did smooch him).

He left a ring on my finger.

Which is very, very cool.

He took some fun pics on his camera; maybe he'll be nice and share. 1 3/4 years and I've already forgotten what's photographable for someone who's never been here.

Wow only 1/4 of a school year left. WACKY. My second year has flown by. I can hardly believe it's almost April.

Of course, the below-zero temperatures make it HARD to believe it's almost April.

And I want a beer.

Thank you and have a goood day.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Monday, March 20, 2006


My "little" cousin David is in the Sweet 16!

He plays for Wichita State.

They knocked off TENNESSEE. They get to play George Mason, who knocked off NORTH CAROLINA.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Shaun is here.

And he's cooking .

Life is good.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I woke up with a hangover this morning.

One problem: I didn't drink last night. I haven't consumed an alcoholic beverage since New Years Eve, as a matter of fact.

If I'm gonna have a headache in the morning, I should have a fun evening to blame it on. But nooooooooo, I'm a good little teacher-in-a-dry-village... I don't touch alcohol while I'm here. Know what I did last night? Dishes.

I have a dish-washing hangover. That is just wrong.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Just a Number

What is the temperature in Quinhagak, Alaska?

According to my FireFox weather thingymabob, it's 16 degrees. It's measuring temperatures 50 miles away and inland.

According to the National Weather Service, it's NULL. They don't measure current conditions here.

According to my thermometer, it's 55 degrees. It's measuring conditions on the sunny side of a metal wall.

Accurding to me, it's all a bunch of bull so I'm going to stop caring what little machines say.

I'd estimate the actual temperature to be around 35 degrees. It's sure not 55, and it's sure not 16, and it's sure not NULL. My neighbor with the really cool thermometer weather station is out of town, otherwise I'd ask him.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Picture, Take II


Three hours, umpteen tries, and one e-mail to Blogger support later, I can post a picture.

It's not even that great of a picture, really. I mean, the snowfort is cool by kid standards, but worth all that hassle to document for posterity? Hellz no.

And, to be perfectly honestly, Blogger support didn't even get a chance to help. It just sort of magically fixed itself, like in junior high when I would ask a parent for homework help, only to figure it out on my own the SECOND they arrived at my side.

Oh, well. There you have it. A picture. A picture of a snowfort, a shed, the end of a house behind the shed, two dogs, and another house in the background. The dogs were being cuter just before I shot this pic. Ah, hell, who am I kidding? They pretty scruffy dogs.


Fortress of Snowitude, or Not

You know what? There's supposed to be a photo, right HERE, of a snow fort made by my junior high-aged neighbor. But is a fantastic piece of crap and denied my picture-uploading efforts. So... imagine a snow fort. It's cool, and stuff.

I apologize for the pitiful lack of photographic love around these parts as of late. My camera has been on loan to one of our high school teachers for use in his journalism class. I could reclaim it every day, then return it the next morning, but it's just far less effort to leave it where it is.

Besides, the journalism class's newspaper entertains me. And while pictures may entertain YOU, dear reader, I am a selfish person. Where else can I find out what the giant pole over by the fish plant is for (measuring wind to see if it'd be adequate for a windmill or two or three),

Monday, March 13, 2006

Drugs are Baaaaaaaaaaaaaad

Caffeine is a drug.

A strong one.

Anyone who says otherwise is full of poo.

I had too much coffee and too little food today.

Feelin' kinda twitchy.

A PSA for my Bush Teacher Homies

Yes, homies. I just said homies. I am white and I live in Alaska, and I said homies.

Anyway, bush teachers love bulk ordering. If we can buy it by the case, chances are we will. You wouldn't believe all the stuff you can buy by the case. Canned goods, feminine products, you name it. If it's non-perishable, chances are you can buy it in bulk.

So, bush teachers and other people who like whole foods but live far from the nearest co-op or grocery store with those cool bins that you can scoop food out of into bags, if you're looking for grains, nuts, etc, check out: I got quinoa, popcorn, wasabi peas (I had to restrain myself from eating them while putting them away over my lunch hour), nutritional yeast (great for making stuff taste cheese-y without the added gastro-intestinal distress), and whole red peppers that I will string for a functional AND decorative addition to my kitchen. I started out with the small size (1 lb is the smallest size for most of their stuff) for almost everything, but will probably order "bigger" next time, now that I've gotten a feel for sizing. Shipping was pricey (but when is it not?), but I'll be able to eat a lot healthier and much cheaper now!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Too Cool

Those of you who know me also know that I spend WAY to much money on and

I'm a fast reader, what can I say?

So rather than spending a bunch of money on stuff I'll only read once, I've enrolled in this. It's like a local library for people in Alaska without local libraries. Basically, you fill out a "general preferences" form, and they send you books and movies they think you'll be interested in. You can also request specific books.

Should save me money on books, in any case. I don't need to be buying books new just to find out I don't like a specific author.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Behavior Management

Not that I'm an advocate of corporal punishment in schools, but really, is throwing a student into a snowbank REALLY such a HORRIBLE form of discipline?

Not that I've done it.

Outside my imaginary funworld, anyway.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

You Did a What?

Iditarod. Added to the expansive, ever-growing list of things I will never, ever do, no matter how indescribably cool and badass they seem.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Decidedly Non-Tin Can Non-Gourmet

What I had for dinner tonight (and yeah, no protein, I know... meat involves effort and I was thrashed after a long day... although I caught some trout a while ago and they're just meditating, trout-like, in my freezer):

Salad: Baby spinach, tomato, avocado, freshly grated parmesan cheese, homemade vinagrette that came out a lot better than I expected

Sugar-Free "Dessert": Yogurt with... wait for it... cranberries. Can't help it. They're all I have left from this fall's berry-picking extravaganza, and walking/4-wheeling it to the store to buy FROZEN fruit when it was -10 degrees just seemed kind of... well... not what I needed to be doing. Better than I expected once I mooshed up the cranberries to spread out the tartness and turn it an unholy shade of pink.

Glass of soymilk.

Oh, who am I kidding, another glass of soymilk. Stuff's addicitive.

Maybe a little more yogurt.

Some cottage cheese.

A little more salad, sans avocado and tomato, since I had already washed the knife and put the veggies away.

OK, some more soy milk. If you insist.

All told, dinner lasted like three hours of casual picking. Can you tell I did a massive grocery spree last weekend in Bethel? I did a lot of walking today... I think it kick-started my appetite.

All Hail Potter

My Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire DVD found its way to my PO box today. Now, I'm a Harry Potter fan, but I apparently have NOTHING on my students, most of whom haven't read any of the books.

Upon my return from the post office, I am spotted by a second grader.

Student #1: "Sara. It's March 7th. Did you get Harry Potter in the Goblin on Fire?"

Me: "Ummmmmmm... Yeah, Harry Potter came."

I deliver mail to teachers and we discuss Harry Potter in an adult, teacher-y way.

On my 3/4 mile walk home, I run a veritable gauntlet of young movie watcher wannabes who have scrambled down from snowpiles to get the scoop on this most important event. Apparently I have the only copy in town at the moment.

Student #2:"Hey, Sara. Did Harry Potter come?"

Me: *sigh* "Yes, it did."

Student #2: "Can I come over and watch it tonight?"

Me: "That would be a big fatty NO."

Student #2: "Why not?"

Me: *tries to think of a diplomatic, kid-friendly way of saying "because having a herd of third grade boys over at my house is NOT how I envision spending my non-teaching time, and you are, quite frankly, not the first person I'd choose to have near breakables"*

I walk on for a few minutes and come across a group of three boys (two fourth graders and a very small kindergartener).

Student #3: "Sara, did Harry Potter come?"

Me: *cringing* "Yes."

Student #4: "Can I borrow it?"

Me: "Tonight? I just got it."

Student #3: "Well, you can watch it with us."
(right, yeah, that was TOTALLY my plan for the evening)

Kindergartener: "Harry Potter gots a MAGIC STICK!"

I returned home, to find two students had left messages asking about the movie. Another called while I was on the can (not taking my roommate's "Um, she's in the bathroom" as a reason to not ask "Can I talk to her?") wanting to come watch it with me.

It's the movie. I'm sure as hell not this popular on my own.

Monday, March 06, 2006


I got sick last week.

BUT... for the first time since coming to Alaska and starting my teachign career a year and a half (or... holy crap, where is this year going... a year and three quarters ago) ago, I was able to keep the illness from knocking me flat on my arse. They say that your fist two years of teaching are the worst while every illness the little snotty-nosed darlings bring in makes its way past your immune system, but I had my doubts as to the veracity of the claims that stated "It totally gets better after your first two years." Thus all those claims about the phenomenal immune systems of elementary school teachers.

Here's hoping... Being at some stage of illness ("coming down with something," "walking dead," "totally feeling better but still feeling a little stuffy/tired/hacking cough in my chest") 50% of the time got old really, really fast. This time around, I was stuffy and a little tired for a few days, then I (and here's the miraculous part) RECOVERED. Completely. Quickly. Without lingering symptoms.

Watch, someday I'll move someplace where the germs are totally different than Quinhagak germs and I'll be forced to go through the process all over again...

Thursday, March 02, 2006


So apparently I gave up sugar for Lent.

My friend Sara talked me into it.

I know what you're thinking... Smacca, aren't you a godless heathen? Nope. I must be Catholic... I give things up for Lent! Besides, some of us have wedding dresses to fit into... I figure this will put me one step farther away from looking like a big white lacy heifer on the big day.

*Sigh* 40 days is a long time.

I want a Butterfinger.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ah, Memories

For some unknown reason, I started waxing nostalgic this evening. I started thinking about the strangest stuff. Good stuff, from childhood. I pulled a few lessons from these memories:

1. All parents should play a game called Giggles with their children. There are very few rules in the game of Giggles. It's a cross between tickling and professional wrestling. It goes as follows: Parent tickles child. Child tries to get away. Parent does not let child get away. Child shrieks as he/she is pulled back. I said there are FEW rules, but there are TWO rules: 1. No giggles near breakables, and 2. No giggles right after dinner; vomit is bad for the carpet.

2. It's not cruelty if your little sister asks, nay, BEGS to be dragged up the stairs in the bottom of a sleeping bag.

3. Water, Liquid Dial, toothpaste and shampoo mixed into an old film container does NOT make a "super cleaner" than can be used to wash hands, brush teeth, and wash hair. I know, I know, it seems like a good idea. But no need to try this for yourself; I did the research as a seven year-old... although I never got around to trying it on my hair. As a toothpaste, it fails on taste alone.

4. If you're going to go skinny dipping, DON'T let anyone take a picture of your bare self in an inflatable boat.

5. Sometimes it's better to do your own thing. While you may THINK that dressing up alike makes you cool, when that means wearing athletic shorts, tank tops, Rainbow Brite caps, and suede ankle boots, you're better off asserting your individuality.

6. Nothing beats an inflatable pool on a hot summer's day. Unless someone throws your aunt in and busts the sides. Then your sister cries because her pool is broken and the day kind of sucks.

7. If you eat your sister's birthday cookie while she is in the hospital with a concussion, she will keep bringing it up well into adulthood. So just resist the urge to mow down and save yourself years of whining.

8. If a boy sits next to you on the kindergarten bus and asks if you want to play with his He-Man dolls... er... action figures, RUN AWAY, because he's about to kiss you.

9. Ice cream is best if you stir it.

10. Used wrapping paper tubes make good light sabers. First, you go down into the basement and smack each other around with them. Then you sit in aforementioned basement and try to move stuff with your mind. It'll keep you busy and out of your parents' hair for a while.


I am now officially done teaching for what could be a month.

My students will get no English Language Development class and I will be a cranky teacher (although calling me a teacher, "one who teaches," when I don't actually get to teach anything is a bit of a misnomer, I suppose).




It appears that we're having issues with our district e-mail, and we aren't receiving/sending e-mails out-of-district.

So, a recap:

1. Gmail can't be accessed from school
2. Work e-mail is not getting outside messages.

Want to talk to me? Pick up the phone!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Internet at home.

Now I can do crazy stuff that I can't do at school, like check my gmail account.

Happy Almost-March!

Fried Brains with a Side of Moron

Last night, at home (sans computer), I thought to myself, "Yeah, that'd make a great blog post."

I even remember thinking it.

But I can't remember what I was thinking about when I thought it.

There's one thing I remember, though... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD! Another year for Big Bad Bob.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tin Can Gourmet #2

From my friend Stacy, a submission:

Oven Reindeer Stew
Only in bush Alaska do you get a chance to buy Santa’s helpers at the store…
(Note from Sara: Silly Stacy, the ELVES are the helpers, and I myself sincerely believe that eating elves is wrong... but you know, to each her own! I won't judge you.)

Reindeer meat, 1-2 lbs. Cut into bite-sized chunks
One onion, cut into large chunks
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
2 cans broth (beef or chicken)
Seasonings (garlic salt, garlic pepper, any green stuff like oregano that you have around)
3-4 medium potatoes, bite sized chunks (wait to cut until just before use)
Canned mushrooms, un-drained (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Mix together tomato sauce, tomato paste and broth. Coat reindeer with this mixture. Add onion chunks.
3. Put the reindeer mixture in the bottom of the 9 x 13 pan.
4. Cover with foil.
5. Bake for 1 hour. Stir and return to oven.
6. Bake for 1 hour. Add potatoes and canned mushrooms. Stir and return to oven.
7. Bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours longer.
8. Enjoy

Monday, February 20, 2006

Happy Presidents' Day

My students don't "get" Presidents' Day. We still have school, and they hardly even know what a president is. Did any of us, really, in first grade?

Anyway, another dandy conversation with the same first grade boys as the "Tomgirl" conversation---

Child #1: What's that say on today on the calendar?

Teacher: Presidents' day. Do any of you know what a president it?

Child #2: George Washington! We put a George Washington on our calendar in our class today!

Teacher: Good! George Washington was a president. Do you know what a president is?



Teacher: Do you know how big Alaska is?

Children: *point to map* THAT BIG!

Teacher: Good, the president is the man in charge of Alaska, and Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and California, and New York City, and Hawaii, and all these other places. He's the boss of them all.

Child #2: And Eek too?

Child #4: And Quinhagak? And Bethel?

Teacher: Yes, those are in Alaska. The president is in charge of Alaska, so he's in charge of Quinhagak and Eek and Bethel. And today is Presidents' Day!

Child #3: What do we do on Presidents' Day?

Child #1: We go to Gym!

Teacher: *flapping jaw helplessly*

Child #2: And ELD! We go to ELD!

Child #4: And library. Today is library day.

Teacher: Anyhoo... let's look at the book we're going to read today. What kind of animals are those on the cover? GOOD! That's a mouse, and remember, when we have two of them, we don't say mouses... we say...

Child #1: RATS!

It's a wonder all teachers aren't rendered completely catatonic by the end of a standard work day.