Monday, April 27, 2009

Things

I have been in a funk the last week or so. I always seem to get a bit down this time of year. I don't know why. I think one major reason is that I love winter so much it's hard to see it go. I had a really great winter and it's hard to see it go.

I have a number of things to share at this point. Here they are.

Thing #1 -- Brian's roommate Joel and I drove up to Kwethluk to get Brian a few weekends ago. The trail up was good but the ride up was slightly marred by my inability to accurately know directions. I sort of led Joel around an island, past some people manaaqing and then proceeded to go about two miles towards Bethel again before I realized I was heading back to Bethel. We stopped the snowmachines and after the third time Joel suggested I stop and ask someone which way to go I gave in and stopped to ask which way to go. I pulled up next to some guy manaaqing and asked if I was heading in the right direction for Kwethluk. He sort of smiled at me and said, "Are you lost?" and, not admitting that I was lost I answered, "Not really, I just want to make sure I'm on the right track." He smiled again and asked if I wanted to go to Akiakchak. I replied with, "No. I want to go to Kwethluk." The man then smiled some more and gave me some advice on how to arrive in Kwethluk. I thanked him and within minutes we were headed on the right track and everything looked familiar to me. When we arrived in Kwethluk Brian let me try out the simulator he uses for Driver's Ed. I got a similar score on the simulator as I did my first two times taking my driver's test!

The next evening I headed back to Bethel to return Brian to Kwethluk. Since it was so late Brian's roommate, Lee, was fairly adamant that he would like someone to ride with me in case something happened. Again, Joel accompanied us upriver. We were driving along I noticed something kind of loping across the river. At first I thought it was a fox and I pointed to it as I drove along so Brian would see it. As we got closer I saw it was much bigger than a fox and had different coloring. I then thought it was a dog but as we got just a bit closer I realized that what I was looking at was a lynx. By this time it had already made it to the edge of the woods and had stopped to stare at us. As it turned it's head I could see it's catlike face and pointy ears. I near shat myself as I realized I was staring at a lynx. I stopped the snowmachine because I was hoping that it wouldn't run off and we could sit and look at it for a bit. However, seconds after I stopped my machine Joel, not aware that we were looking at something, came whizzing by on his machine and the lynx ran into the woods. Later on, as Joel and I were come back home I saw a fox run across the river. Of course, there was also the usual amount of ptargamin floating around as well. So, it was quite a day packed with wildlife.

Thing #2 --I went into Bethel this past weekend for a round of thesis writing stuff. So far, I have almost 18 pages of my thesis done. It was most helpful to have my professor there to help me and to give immediate feedback. I felt motivated and although I've offered people money to write my thesis (purely in a joking manner) I feel like this task can be accomplished and feel more optimistic about it happening.

Thing #3 -- The river is turning kind of cruddy. Actually it's turning really cruddy. We were informed that yesterday will be the last day we will be getting mail until the river breaks. Christina and I headed up to Bethel on Monday to do two things. The first thing we had to do was stop at ID Variety (the local pet store) and donate most of Christina's mice. Well, we donated all but two mice. Christina, the softy, couldn't bear to part with the smallest, runtiest mouse of the bunch and that one is currently residing in a massive cage all by itself. The other mouse is a talented escape artist that has been on the loose for a couple of days now. There was a Mouse-dini sighting last night and we at least know that Macy hasn't torn the mouse apart somewhere. In fact, we kind of think that Macy is probably cuddling with the mouse during the day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

101.5

That's not my temperature or anything like that. That is the amount of miles I put on my snowmachine yesterday.

This week is our Culture Week and the students participate in a variety of cultural activities. Students have been checking nets, fishing, beading, knitting, sewing, crocheting, skin sewing, designing and making story knives and making wooden spoons.

So far, it hasn't been a bad week. I had some issues with a student on Monday that greatly soured my attitude for about 24 hours. I won't go into it on my blog. Just let it be known that no matter how tough one is or how many years they have been teaching it still kind of hurts when students call you names and throw snow at you.

On Tuesday I got to take the 7-12th graders down to the Johnson River for a bit o' manaaqing. The sun was shining and the weather was beautiful as we loaded up and headed out. Macy was able to sneak into the sled and come with us. Although we didn't catch as many fish as we would have liked we still had a lot of fun.










After I arrived home and dropped the kids off I headed down to Napakiak to meet KC. He is going to be interviewing for a site administrator position in Akula later in the month and wanted to go check out the school. We followed the Johnson River from Napakiak and arrived in Akula after a short stint across the tundra. We stayed and drank a cup of coffee with Kyle and helped Kyle "fix" his new kayak. When I say we helped him "fix" his kayak I mean that KC accidentally pulled a piece off of it when trying to figure out what was wrong with it. What was wrong with it was that that piece needed to be pulled off. It took us a second to realize that KC had actually solved the mystery instead of breaking it.

The ride home seemed to go much faster. KC and I stopped for a bit on the bluffs and talked about life and other interesting subjects. I then headed home.

When I got home I saw my odometer said 101.5 miles...by far the longest I've gone on a snowmobile since Brian, Heidi, Jay and I went snowmobiling in Michigan over Christmas break. It's too bad that the weather will probably get cruddy soon and I'll have to put my machine away. I really enjoyed my ride and was reminded again why I love living here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

District NYO

This weekend I attended the District NYO meet in Akula. It was most widely attended meet in LKSD history. There were 22 schools there and over 150 athletes. Schools from other districts were invited as well so it was nice to meet some new coaches and students.

The students did very well the entire weekend. I am always so happy that the Oscarville students are so polite and well behaved. I only had to shake my finger in a scolding manner once or twice when I was there!

My camera batteries died early on and I didn't get to take a lot of pictures. Mr. Bodily had my spare batteries in his GPS and returned them to me yesterday morning. I also didn't feel like going to the store to pay four times what I would pay for batteries anywhere else in the world. Alas, I have no pictures to share with my readers. Sorry.

The most unpleasant portion of the trip came from Akula's inability to provide water for everyone there. Apparently, the village has some issues with their well. I'm not sure if it isn't dug deep enough or what but they have to conserve water as much as possible. What that meant is that most of the water in the school was turned off including the toilets and bathroom sinks.

Now, I'm not one to complain about "building" on someone else's waste in toilets and such but there was one point when I was reminded of my first ever Phish show. After one night in the campground at this show every single Port-O-Potty was overflowing with waste. I eventually just started peeing away from our tent because it was more sanitary than using the actual facilities designated for waste.

Akula at one point reminded me of this show. Enough about poo. Let's move on to sugar.

One of the downsides of NYO is that the students always load up on sugar and junk food from the village store as well as from the student store. This meet was no different. The first thing on our agenda was to go to the store to get some snacks which included full size bags of Doritos, candy, pop and energy drinks. My snacks were multi-grain crackers and some slices of cheddar cheese. I'm so lame and uncool! haha

In addition to the snacks the students bought at the store the student store pumped out Slush Puppies by the gallon and acres of cotton candy.

I'm not a super duper health nut but I do try to eat healthy and to eat a balanced diet. I hate going to athletic events and seeing nothing but sugar and junk food consumed by kids. We did have apples for a snack on Thursday evening. That was good. I'm not getting down on the school at all or the coaches. I just really wish that apples and oranges sold as quickly and as rapidly as Slush Puppies and cotton candy.

The District meet went quickly (we set a record for the least amount of time needed for a district meet as well as for the most number of schools and students) and we were on the plane heading for home before noon on Saturday. As we flew home in our little 207 I looked back at my students and saw that ALL of them were crashed out. It took about 5 minutes in the air for the kids to be lulled to sleep.

I also want to congratulate two of our athletes, Chinace and Jackie for being chosen to represent LKSD in the state NYO tournament. I'm proud of them and they worked hard for this chance. Way to go ladies!