Sunday, November 27, 2011


            Thanksgiving has come and gone and that once again reminds me how much I loathe shopping.  We have chosen to live in a place so far removed from shopping that we don’t even have a store in our village.  We are 500 miles away from the nearest Wal-Mart or Costco.  Being this far away one could rest assured that the crazy ‘black Friday’ thing could go unnoticed here.  But no, we had to watch it on the news, over and over.  This has become an event, with people choreographing their moves from store to store.  Some people wait in line for days in order to get in the door first.  This is the equivalent of me camping out in front of my dentist’s office so I can be the first root canal of the day.  People do this willfully, without getting paid.
            If it seems like I’m cantankerous about this, there is a perfectly good reason: I am.  I don’t understand it.  I must be in the minority, because after watching two days worth of news coverage, I see that most of the country is willing to stand in line in order to spend their hard earned money.  Additionally, holiday cheer is abundant.  Nothing says Merry Christmas like shoving an old woman to the ground in order to get the last 22” flat screen TV.

Thanksgiving with the gang.
            Ok, I’ll quit being so negative.  We did have a very nice Thanksgiving Day.  We spent the morning on the computer, talking with family on Skype.  Skype allows us to see and hear what others are doing without us.  What we’ve found is that they’re all having lots of fun and food without us.  After we spent some time on Skype with our families, we went back home to have our dinner.  We had all the fixens, cranberries included.  We also had very good company.  Essie, Brittnay, and Grover came over for the afternoon.  They are all teachers here too, so they did know us and willingly came over.  We all contributed to the menu and had way more than we needed.  I ate until I couldn’t eat any more, then I had pie.  I did wait for a few hours until I ate my second piece of pie.  Out of consideration to our guests, I had to try both the apple and pumpkin pies.  Also out of consideration to our guests, I kept my pants on after the meal even though both me and my pants agreed it would have been much more comfortable to shed them.

             We did have a very nice and relaxing break from work.  Monica has been working much more than we had anticipated.  She also will be teaching the preschool after the first of the year.  It has just been funded through a grant and we have been without a preschool for a few years here.  She will be setting it up also so that will keep her busy.  That and going to college full time.  She barely has time to wait on me hand and foot.  We have three more weeks of school until winter break begins.  We are staying here for Christmas, as it is so expensive to fly south for the two and a half weeks.  Hopefully we’ll have our snowmobile so we’ll have plenty to do.  Now, I have to get ready for ‘cyber Monday’.  I really hope it’s about shopping. 



Sunday, November 20, 2011


Well, the announcement came and once again I’ve been snubbed by People magazine.  The sexiest man alive was given to one of the ‘Hollywood elite’, ignoring the popularity of overweight, unkempt gentlemen.  Bradley Cooper may have some primal appeal to the American women, but the ‘Scraggly Beard’ look has become vogue for the fashion enlightened.  People was on the right track but they picked the wrong guy from The Hangover.  

The banks of the Yukon River.
Last week we had a pretty big storm, even for up here.  What made it so bad was the high winds caused a big surge in the tide.  There was no coastal freezing of the Bering Sea yet, so the tide was pushed up into the villages situated on the coast.  Winter storms normally occur later in the winter and the sea ice protects coastal villages from flooding.  We are about a mile from the sea, so we were spared major flooding.  We had water up to our house, but we’re on 4ft stilts, so no flooding damages to homes in Nunam Iqua.  But this does cause other problems.  We are on the banks of the Yukon River, and when you have flooding in 20-degree temperatures, it leaves an ice sheet behind.  Also, the Yukon already had a two-foot layer of ice on it.  The sea surge buckled and broke the river ice, pushing some of that close to houses.  A few years ago the floating chunks of ice, some as large as cars, knocked a few houses off their pylons.  People were nervous about that last week.  But we couldn’t just pack our valuables in the pickup and drive to higher ground.  (no roads) (or pickups) The Yukon Delta sits at sea level and the nearest hill is 15 miles away.

The weather had all of the airplanes grounded in Western Alaska, so we had no choice but to sit it out.  As it turned out it was not as bad as feared.  But what got me thinking was, what if something happened and someone needed medical attention?  I’m at the age where sharp pains occur suddenly and for no apparent reason.  Maybe they did when I was younger and I just ignored them.  But now, I fear them.  Any pain that happens in my chest area convinces me I may be having a heart attack.  I don’t know what a heart attack feels like, but I’ve been certain a hundred times that I was having one.  Or a headache reminds me of tumors.  But so far, no medical emergencies.  Even on a clear day, it would take at least an hour for a plane to get here and then another hour to get to a hospital.  So if I do have a heart attack, I hope it’s one of those slow moving ones. 
Morning coffee without heat.

So we’ve survived the storm without incident.  Well, we did lose power for two separate nights.  We realized how unprepared we are for that, since we had only two candles.  My mom did send up a flashlight that has a crank to recharge the battery, so that gave me light to read.  The real bad part was that we don’t have heat without electricity.  We don’t have a wood-burning stove, but it wouldn’t matter if we did since there are no trees here on the Tundra.  The school has a generator, so if it got too bad we could always head up there. 

I guess I’ll have to wait until next year to see if People Magazine has changed its biased and uneducated views on the definition of the word ‘sexiest’.  Or ‘man’.  Or ‘alive’.  I should qualify for at least one of their antiquated stipulations on their competition.  It would sure enhance my career.