Monday, March 26, 2007

Hey Spring... Spring Already!

Who ordered the snow?

Sorry for the low quality of the photograph, but I was too lazy to put on a coat and I was being pelted with snow the whole time I took the picture.

A former colleague was reported missing out on the tundra last night, but rumor has it he's been found. So that's good. Hopefully rumor has it right.

As for me, I'm just patiently awaiting warmer temps.

Or maybe not-so patiently.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Awkward Announcement

So, I hesitate to even post this.

Mostly because I'm embarrassed that I even had to do it. Partly because I don't like to brag. But sometimes bragging is OK.

I've lost weight. I won't say how much and I won't say how much I have left, but I realized that I'd really been on a downward (well, upward, if we're talking about poundage) slide for the past few years and I did what I needed to do to correct it. I might even throw in a few short-distance triathlons this summer, but we'll see if I have the time. Right now the temp is hovering around zero and that kind of makes me lean in the stay-inside-and-do-inside-type-things direction for the time being.

So there you have it. There's less of me now.

But I'm still just as obnoxious.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Winter? Spring? None of the Above?

It's 9:30 and still light out. Daylight Savings Time has arrived. The sun was making plenty of progress into the evening hours on its own, but we had to go and help it out, didn't we? Wouldn't want to be going to bed in darkness for an extra couple weeks, would we?

As Jody commented (and she'd know better than I, being way ups in da nort'), it's a little crazy right now. The sun is returning. It LOOKS so nice out there! Alas, Pa Winter retains his grip on the temperatures, even if he has cut us some slack in the daylight department.

Friday, March 09, 2007

I'm Learnding!

Things I learned today:

-What to do about a snowmachine with a frozen gasline
-That sometimes new spark plugs can just be "duds"
-How to change a snowmachine drive belt
-That sitting for 45 minutes along the trail from Bethel to Nunapitchuk is kinda boring.

Yesterday, I went by snowmachine into Bethel for a doctor's appointment. FunkyPunk and I rode in, and she carried another teacher as a passenger. I spent the night last night because the weather looked iffy and the sun was starting to set by the time I was ready... and I was just feeling lazy. While she wanted to stay until Saturday, I was ready to head out Friday morning. I had visions of getting back to school by 10am and putting in pretty much a full school day.

After MUCH drama this morning (involving a frozen gas line, and the subsequent cab ride to and from the store to get gas line antifreeze, followed by an issue involving a spark plug change... even though the spark plug was new and fine), I got on my way about 11am. Like a good girl, I called my destination to let them know I was on my way, and to expect me in about an hour and a half. I gave myself extra time because I wasn't sure I'd find the trail out of Bethel easily. I found it on my first try.

So... I left Bethel, 26 miles of tundra trail in front of me. I enjoyed being out on the machine by myself for the first few miles. I was just riding along, minding my own business (and taking some sweet jumps, if I can quote Napoleon Dynamite), when I started hearing a funny noise.

"Self," I thought, "You should head back to Bethel. That doesn't sound good."

"But self," I whined back, "You are like 1/3 of the way there!"

"DO IT!" I mentally shouted at myself. "TURN BACK!"

Fiiiiiiiiine. I turned back. Or I tried... the moment I started slowing down, I heard a most distressing KERCHUNK, followed by the sound of my machine, um, not going. Hmm. Tried to start machine, knowing it to be futile. Bad noises and no starting. I freaked out for about 30 seconds (usually I'm rendered useless for at least an hour and a half by any semblance of stress), then realized that freaking out on the trail was maybe not the most healthy choice I could make.

I could still see the Bethel airport tower in the distance, so I wasn't out of town by more than 5 or 10 miles (I had a GPS with me, but didn't turn it on at this point, although I did move it to my inside pocket so it would be warmer and the batteries would last longer if I turned it on). People at my destination knew when to expect me. Also in my favor was the fact that I was on a fairly busy trail, and wearing two pairs of snowpants and two winter coats (my light one under my fluffy down one), but still... I was out on the tundra and the windchill was hovering around a balmy -30F, I think.

And so, I waited. Several planes flew over, but alas, no snowmachines happened by. I waited more. I paced back and forth. I sat on my backpack, sheltered from the wind by my snowmachine. I paced. I sat. I sang a little song. Either someone would happen by, or someone in Nunapitchuk would get worried about me and come looking. I hoped for the former, but would have happily settled for the latter.

After 45 minutes of worry and boredom, a nice man happened by. Also heading to Nunapitchuk, he is uncle to several of my students. He showed me how to change the belt that had broken (apparently a common thing in the world of snowmachines), and I got on my merry way.

I returned home around 1:45 (should have been home around 12:30 at the latest) to a worried fiancee and typically obnoxious Labrador Retriever.

Maybe next time I'll spend the night rather than coming back by myself. Live and learn, I guess.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Answer: Not a Damn One

Question: How many pictures did I take of the cool stuff that went on every afternoon this week in our school?

Honestly, I meant to. We're celebrating Lunar New Year as a school, and it was good fun. We made sushi in my classroom, which was both cool and messy. Kids were doing all sorts of projects in multi-age groups, rotating around from room to room, lah-dee-dah. I could have taken some really cool pictures, but I didn't.

I had one opportunity to take pictures. Yesterday, I got a break and thought, "I'm going to take this opportunity to snap some photos of what's going down!" The fates had other plans.

Dead, my camera battery was. Foiled, my plan for photographic domination was. Talking like Yoda, I am.

So use your imagination. Imagine ten Eskimo kids rolling sushi. Imagine them eating won ton soup. Imagine them making kites and masks and Chinese yo-yos. Work up a good mental image, because you won't be getting a digital one.