Sunday, December 23, 2012


I don’t need a calendar to see that Christmas is nearing. I am being bombarded with television commercials telling me what I need and what I must give to my wife so I don’t look like a turd again. I’m suppose to enjoy receiving and using power tools around the house while my wife sits behind the wheel of a new luxury car, wearing her sparkly new diamond neckless. Not only don’t I enjoy using power tools, I don’t exactly understand how to use them. I’m pretty sure it involves doing work or a chore, so I don’t see how that benefits me in any way. Plus, I don’t see a beer holder on any of those handheld tools. And giving those gifts to my wife? I’m a teacher, not a congressman. I cannot afford to make her that happy. We’re lucky we can order online from the Dollar Store. Nothing shows off the color in my wife’s eyes like an edible neckless made of candy.
11:40 am sunrise. Our days are now getting longer.

Another way for us to know Christmas is near is to hang around children all day. Christmas will be brought up everyday, several times a day. We have a countdown on the whiteboard, reminding us how long until Christmas. We won’t be taking a full break from the school. I’m teaching our after school tutoring program, so we’re going to hold some sessions over the break. The kids wanted to do this and I think it should be fun for us. 

Christmas break started on Thursday at our school. I believe the staff was more excited about the break than the kids. Most of the teachers headed south to visit their families in the lower 48. We are going out to Anchorage for Christmas this year. We had originally planned on staying in the village for the entire break. Last weekend, we decided to head down to Anchorage for a week. This will give us a chance to do some things that we are unable to do here. The most obvious thing we can do is go to a place that sells things. Going to a store is something we take for granted most of our lives, but up here we don’t get to do it. We are fortunate that we have loving family members who will shop for us and send us packages from Oklahoma and Idaho. The upside of not having a store means there is no place where two women can bring all of their kids, block a narrow walkway (aisle), and catch up with each other’s lives. All the while totally ignoring everyone else in the store who are trying to get through the spice isle so they can stock up on beer. Maybe I won’t go to a store.
Some old bald guy at the Christmas program.

If you’re reading this, it means we survived the end of the earth. I think this is my 14th apocalypse I’ve survived in a row, so I’m feeling pretty good about that. Not that I have any special survival skills for this sort of thing, other than not believing in nonsense. Also, if there was an apocalypse, I think it would take about 20 years before anyone of us up here realized it, so we’d be fine anyways. 

Monica and I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We will be spending Christmas in Anchorage and New Year’s here watching football, I guess. Then we can get back to some normalcy on TV; like more erectile dysfunction ads and commercials about yogurt that makes us poop. Now that’s better.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


After taking a week off from writing this blog, one would think that I would have plenty to write about. But just because I have stuff to write about doesn’t mean it will be written.  Just as when there is work to be done, don’t assume that it will be done by me.  I am what the scientists term as “a lazy- ass”. Actually, you can put the word “ass” after any adjective and it would probably describe me pretty well. (I’ll pause here because I know you will try out a few and say, “Yeah, he’s right.”)

This is the 'wrist carry' event in NYO.
We did have activities at the school. Our school participated in the Native Youth Olympics (NYO) along with several other schools in our district. Events consist of several different athletic and academic contests. One event our school excelled in was the stick-pull. This is an event where two contestants grab ahold of an eighteen inch stick, similar to how you hold an oar. They sit flat on the floor, facing each other. Their legs are outstretched with the bottoms of their feet pressed against their opponent’s. Then they pull. The winner is the one who pulls the stick out of his/her opponent’s hands. Our kids did surprisingly well in spite of being the smallest school competing. This should be a lesson to the rest of the Yukon Delta: Don’t try to take a stick away from a Nunam kid, you will lose. Or a candy bar. 

An activity I participated in was as a member of a reading curriculum review team. About a dozen teachers from our district got together at the district office in Mountain Village to help chose a new reading curriculum for our district. The new reading books were chosen by two people grabbing ahold of a book and the one who pulled the book out of the other person’s hand got to chose the curriculum. Then the curriculum director walked into the room and said we must discuss both programs and take a vote before making a decision. 

His stern voice of reason won out and we were forced to listen to two separate sales pitches from the publishers. During the sales pitch, we were encouraged to ask questions. I asked her how old she was. The Stern Voice of Reason suggested we ask pertinent questions. So I asked her if she thought I could fit 7 donuts in my mouth at the same time. She pretended not to hear me and muttered something about research-based data and best practices. Whatever nerd, I’m know I can fit them in. Then the Stern Voice of Reason encouraged me not to ask any more questions. 

After a day and a half, we took a vote and decided on a new curriculum for our district. Both would have worked out nicely so I know we made a good choice. Our state has changed our standards to align more closely to the common core standards, which has been adopted by most of the other states. This new curriculum will be a better fit that what we have now. I am happy we are changing curriculum from what we have now, as are most of the other teachers in the district. 

This is how trees grow down here on the Delta.
With the curriculum review finished, I can now concentrate on our Christmas program. Since our program is next Friday, I guess I have no choice but to do something about that. I may put a third grader in charge just to give them a life lesson. The lesson will be that planning a Christmas program is no fun. And I maybe I’ll have him write my blog for next week. Yes, I know I’m a Grinch-ass.