Friday, July 24, 2009


A couple of weeks ago I went to WEIO (World Eskimo Indian Olympics). WEIO was awesome and I loved all the crafts that were for sale as well as watching the events. We got to see the Women's Blanket Toss, Eskimo dancing, Fish Cutting Contest and the Seal Cutting Contest. Speaking of that...I'm going to throw in a disclaimer here. I caught the Seal Cutting Contest on video. It's the last video in this post and if the idea of butchering a seal bothers you please don't watch it. Also, please don't comment that the seal cutting is gross or wrong or anything similar to that. Part of WEIO is the celebration of the subsistence lifestyle that exists in this area of the world. This is an important aspect of Native culture here.

One of my former students and me.

Fish cutting contest...

Getting ready for the seal cutting contest.


Several walrus skins are used for this event. The skin has holes on the edges so that rope can be looped through all the way around and used for handle grips. One person gets in the middle of the skin and stands there while being tossed. With a good coordinated effort on behalf of the pullers, the person being tossed can get as high as thirty feet in the air and lands on his/her feet without falling down. This is quite similar to a trampoline, with the only difference being that people are the springs and they can move to catch an errant jumper.

The Nalukataq is done in the whaling communities in the spring if there has been a successful whaling season. It is been part of the whaling feast activity as long as people can remember.

There are two schools of thought as to why this sport is being done. One is for the simple exhilaration is provides, and the other is for spotting game over the horizon. The judges look at balance, height, movements in the air - sometimes you can see jumpers dancing or running in place - and all around form and grace when determining a winner. Sometimes, flips and somersaults are done to the delight of the pullers and spectators.

During Christmas, jumpers used to throw candy and other goodies from their height above the children.

Blanket Toss 1 from Erin Kavanaugh on Vimeo.

Blanket Toss 2 from Erin Kavanaugh on Vimeo.

After the blanket toss a dance group from Anatuvuk Pass performed. They were excellent and it made me want to join the Bethel Dance Group when I get back into Bethel. I especially loved the elders dancing.

Dancing from Erin Kavanaugh on Vimeo.

Dancing 2 from Erin Kavanaugh on Vimeo.

Untitled from Erin Kavanaugh on Vimeo.

Seal Cutting Contest from Erin Kavanaugh on Vimeo.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Captain Macy!

I was informed this morning that my dog made the front page of one of our local papers. My friend Iain took this pic and I blogged about it awhile back. Apparently Iain submitted a few photos to the Tundra Drums and this was one of those submitted.

According to Iain he had no idea that the picture was going to be used and was quite surprised to see it on the front page of the newspaper as well. In case you couldn't tell, I'm quite tickled about the whole thing as well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Might as Well Blog

I'm feeling a bit lazy and unmotivated today. I'm trying so hard to finish writing this thesis thing but I'm constantly distracted. The weather here is lovely and I'm annoyed that I just can't seem to meet the goals I set for myself each day. I have been spending more time watching people sit outside and enjoy the sun than actually writing something. Today I had to attend a short little class like meeting and then ate a sandwich. After my sandwich I felt quite motivated to get some stuff done. Armed with a plum in my pocket and a bottle full of water I headed to the library where I envisioned myself burning up the keyboard on my MacBook with all sorts of insightful and meaningful thesis-like statements.

What I have accomplished so far is that I ate my plum. I tried not to get juice on my keyboard but was even a bit unsuccessful in that. I have been successful in searching for my lost firewire cable and was unsuccessful in finding it.

I was going to check out a book from the library that piqued my interest yesterday but when I went back to claim it the shelf where it had been sitting yesterday now had a big gaping bookless hole. I was unsuccessful in checking that book out. I was successful in locating about 7 other books to peruse and possible glean enough material to write the rest of my thesis. I forgot my student ID so now I have to figure out where to stash them when I go eat dinner. I hope I'm successful in that.

Overall, this has been an ok day. Some successes some unsuccesses. Now that I've blogged perhaps I can go back to work.

I'll have a better post soon. Promise.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Update

So much has happened in the past few weeks I don't know where to start. I'm actually in Fairbanks right now but I really don't feel it appropriate to blog about any of this stuff until I've caught all of my faithful readers up.

Oh! I know where I'll start. I'll start by describing the sick feeling I had in my stomach when I realized I had deleted ALL the pictures from this summer. I was at a very special event (keep reading..I talk about it in more detail) with my dad and was messing with my camera trying to figure out the most optimal settings to document the event. What then ended up happening was I realized I deleted ALL the pictures and movies and such I had taken up to that point. I feel terrible and I had some really, really, awesome pictures. Nothing I can do about it now though. I'll have a few more things to say about this later on in the post.

Sooo...where to begin....

Friends and Family
This summer has been PACKED with family and friends. It's been great to see so much of my brothers and their spouses and all their kids. My brother Matt is reenlisting in the Marine Corps and will be leaving at the end of this month for North Carolina. It's hard telling when we'll all be together again (my brother Dave is already in Iraq) so it's been great hanging out. Both Matt and Dave have some special ladies in their lives and it was so awesome getting a chance to meet and hang out with these kick ass ladies.

I love campfires and this summer has been full of many nights sitting around fires with cans of beer and just talking. I attended my first summer campfire about an hour after I arrived home. There's nothing like sitting around a fire. It's the best. I also love messing with the fire. I call myself something when I start poking around and messing with a fire. However, I don't think that nickname appropriate to post in my blog. Messing with fires is a bad habit but I like burning things.

Cigar Smokin' With Matt and Dad
My dad isn't a smoker but he occasionally will smoke a cigar. I had a really great picture of my brother and my dad smoking their cigars...but I deleted it. I also smoked a cigar but could only get halfway through the thing. I then tried to quickly throw it in the campfire to dispose of it before my dad saw me. The only problem was I threw it not in the campfire but PAST the campfire where it rested on the ground right at my dad's feet. When he found it he gave me endless amounts of crap. Actually it wasn't too bad but he still gave me a bunch of crap because I didn't finish the cigar. He also gives me crap when or if I smoke cigarettes as well. Can't win with that man.

The Gile Flowage with Brian
Brian Rendall and I took a big trip to the Gile Flowage at the beginning of June. Macy and I met Brian in Bruce, WI at this amazingly awesome place called River's Edge Resort. My friend Brandon's dad just bought it and it's a pretty sweet spot. Dennis (Brandon's dad) and his wife were super sweet and let me park my bus in their yard while Brian and I were gone. After reaching the flowage we put all the camping gear in Brian's boat (I had some pretty nice pics of his boat but I deleted them) and drove around on the lake until we found a nice little spot to camp in the woods. For the next few days we fished, cooked, and threw sticks for Macy. The weather was pretty good and I think it rained only a small amount while we were there. Other than that the sun was shining and the weather was great. Not only did I leave the Gile Flowage with a pretty rad funk going on but I also left with a pretty not cool case of what I like to call "The Ivy". I apparently walked directly through a patch of poison ivy while exploring the woods around our little island. It has finally gone away but I had to get some medicine from the doctor to encourage it to leave my skin. Brian and I didn't catch much fish but we had a lot of fun making campfires at night and cooking awesome camp food. Macy had a great time as well and spent a lot of time trying to fetch sticks or rocks out of the water. I had some pretty amazing pictures of the lake and the beautiful scenery but...I deleted them.

GREASE with Heidi
My sister-in-law, Heidi, surprised me with tickets to go see the Broadway version of Grease. We knew it was going to be an awesome show when we were allowed to take a large plastic cup full of whiskey sweets into the theater. Even more amazing is that Taylor Hicks was part of the show. Both Heidi and I thought he was going to be Danny, the lead (John Travolta in the movie). When Taylor Hicks failed to emerge as Danny, Heidi informed me that he had been ill earlier in the week. I was a bit's not everyday someone famous is three rows in front of me but I was having a blast (whiskey sweets, remember) singing along with the songs so I just shrugged it off. However, much to our surprise Taylor Hicks did make an appearance. He was the Teen Angel who sang "Beauty School Dropout" to Frenchy. After the show Taylor Hicks sang a song from his new album and then was signing autographs. I had some really great pictures of Taylor Hicks signing autographs...but I deleted them.

Matt's Going Away Party
Immediately after Grease, Heidi and I went downtown Kaukauna to attend my brother Matt's going away party. The party was in full swing when we showed up and it didn't take us long to catch up to everyone else (whiskey sweets, remember?). The party was great. Lots of people came. It was great to hang out with my brothers and cousins and even my mom and dad stayed out till almost 1 in the morning. See...Mary and Jerry still have it in them. I had some really great pictures of the party. My cousin Steve grabbed my camera when I was out on the dance floor and everyone made sure there were some really great pictures on there.

I think I was most upset about deleting those pictures. I'm not even going to make a joke about those...I really was sick about the whole thing. Here is a pic my brother posted on Facebook of us at his party.

President Barack Obama
I know this is what you all have been waiting for. This is the BIG event where I deleted all my pictures. President Obama came to Green Bay and I was lucky enough to receive tickets to attend the event. I asked my dad to go with me and although the President wasn't speaking until noon my dad and I went up to Green Bay super early to make sure we had great seats. Turned out we really did have some great seats. I was about seven rows back from the President and could see him quite well. It was pretty cool to be that close to a President. I also was only a few seats away from the young girl Obama wrote an excuse note for. Here's the video from CNN. If the camera had been at just a slightly different angle you would have perhaps seen me or my dad.

Here are some of the pictures I took.

One of the most enjoyable things about Kaukauna are the Thursday night stock car races. I haven't gone to a race in quite some time and I was able to attend two this past summer. My friend Brandon calls the stock car races the "roundy round" races simply because the cars just go around and around. However, the last event every Thursday evening is the Figure 8 races and this race is loved by all. When those crappy, beat up Figure 8 cars come out onto the track everyone gets excited. What is even better is that all the guys who race are local guys so we know quite a few. Many also would frequent the bar up the road where I used to work so I know quite a few from my bartending days as well. My friend Liz's brother Danny races in the Figure 8 races and it's always great to yell and cheer for him.

P.S. Sorry for all the babbling and talking of me as well as other various people in the videos. Miller and Bud Light are common staples at these racing events. I think there is at least a three drink minimum when one attends races.

Windshield Wipers and Camping in Door County
The windshield wipers went out on the bus. The motor smelled hot and like burning so I disconnected it. The mechanic couldn't take a look at the bus until Monday so Jon, Chad and I decided to chance the rain and still take the bus to Door County. Jon and Chad arrived at my parent's house on Friday morning and we loaded up the bus.

Rocking the Poison shirt I intended to wear at last year's concert but never got the chance. Think I'd fit in with the ladies on Rock of Love?

Jon and Chad brought their bike rack and we loaded the bikes onto the back of the bus. I had never had a bike rack on the back and Chad and I were very worried the bikes were going to fall off. We decided to chance that as well. So, we drove the bus sans windshield wipers and with bikes dangling precariously off the back to the grocery store to stock up on all the necessary supplies. We then drove up to Pensinsula State Park for our weekend of fun.
Driving makes Macy tired.

That's one happy Pomeranian!

After getting to the park we took the bikes off the rack and set up camp. We then biked into town for some necessary supplies for Jon (John Lennon wasn't with us...Jon Schroeder needed the smokes). After arriving back home we had a nice campfire before hitting the hay. I got a chance to sleep outside in my new hammock although Jon tried to convince me not to. The hammock was super comfy and wonderful and I woke up the next morning refreshed and feeling great. As I cooked breakfast Jon, Chad and I had early morning cocktails and then we had some more early morning cocktails. We then went back into Fish Creek to meet my parents and my Uncle Dave and Aunt Cheryl for lunch.

My parents and me!

After a trip to an antique store Jon, Chad and I decided to sample some of that famous Door County wine. After securing our wine it was off to the campsite where all my other aunts and uncles were. We had a ton of fun there and let's just say it was an early night for all of us. The next morning we had our breakfast and coffee from the camp store then went for a quick little paddle on Lake Michigan. We climbed the look out tower and then it was off towards home.

Unfortunately we had to pull off the road due to the lack of windshield wipers and abundance of rain. We made it home though and it was a great weekend.

I was actually able to celebrate my birthday at home with my family this year. My mom organized a little birthday party for me and my brothers and their significant others and kids all came over as well as Jon and Chad. Jon's birthday is the day after mine so the cake was for both of us! It was a great birthday and although I didn't want a party or any sort of celebration it was a really nice dinner. Thanks mom!

Ok...that's it for now. I have much more to talk about but this is shaping up to be the longest blog post ever. I still have the other half of June to talk about! haha