Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Me- just tea
Avery- frosted flakes and milk
Avery- PBJ sandwich, carrots, orange, pudding
Cheese and broccoli quesadilla
When I was cutting up the broccoli, Taboo was standing there whining and begging. At first I couldnt figure out what he wanted. We fed him dinner and gave him water, we even gave him a bone, but he persisted. Then I looked at the stalks of broccoli left over after cutting off the florets and it hit me...broccoli bones! He loves them. The stalks of broccoli...too weird! I have a broccoli loving dog.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Here is some video footage from Cama-i. These are traditional Yup'ik dancers. I took alot of other footage from the festival, but all the rest came out blurry for some reason. You can go back and look at the videos from last year if you are interested in more. Just go down the right side column to the previous post and go to March 2008 and april 2008.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Camai is a Yup'ik word meaning "a warm, genuine hello." At this 3 day gathering, 22 dance groups - over 450 dancers, drummers, and singers between the ages of 2 to 92, will celebrate the Yup'ik Eskimo tradition of dance with you. The festival offers cultural renewal and immersion into indigenous dance.
The Art of Yup’ik Dancing
by Pauline Natalia Walter Haas (Tutmalria) *
“Yup’ik dancing is an expression of art, by communicating visually, by displaying movement for meaning, and by getting words across to the mind, enhancing the imagination of the story being told. The dancers are the instruments of depicting the scene or event. Yup’ik dancing requires right and left hand coordination, and is structurally organized so that the right movements are always done first, creating a symmetry, or balance of movement.
Yup’ik dance has “many” individual pieces, composed of the yuarun (chorus) which is sung eight times; the apalluk (verses) which are sung twice; and, the cauyarialnguq (displays motion to music with no singing) which is performed four times. The drummer directs the dancers with demonstrative action words that pertain to the cauyarialnguq of a particular song. As the song progresses, the motions increase in tempo and sharpness. Usually right before the song is sung for dancers to dance, the drummer introduces the song. This is called mengla, the preliminary singing to familiarize the audience. During this stage, it is customary during more formal events for dancers to stand through the beginning by leg flexing (uyungsuaq) and change from right to left hand motions with the end of the piece. Repeated pamyuas (requests for repetition “encore”) add to the number of times a piece (cauyarialnguq) is performed.
The best thing about Yup’ik dancing is that there is the positive encouragement to participate, resulting in a feeling of one belonging to a selfless contribution of making others happy.”
We even had these two present an interpretive Japanese "dance".And these Sudanese dancers...
It was a great time and it was great to see so many friends in from the villages. I'll post some more pics and some video later.
Also...just to give you an update...my snowmachine is fixed ($520) and rides beautifully. My thumb is fine, but sore. My truck and bank account, however, are still broken.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Broken bank account.
Why does it always manage to all go wrong at the same time? And, go figure, the warranty on my truck expired a week ago. It seems like I have one day like this each year. Here is last years "just want to cry" post.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Tonight was parent teacher conferences. It went well, but seemed like mostly junior high parents. Avery's teachers all say that he is doing really well. He has all straight A's except for pre-algebra, which he has a B. He does real good on his classwork and homework, but then fails every test. :(
I am so happy to have tomorrow off. I need to make a ton of phone calls and get some of this tax stuff done for a couple people. I also need to finish my college class and find a job for summer. Not to mention there's a huge stack of papers to grade at school.
The Cama'i festival is this weekend which means that I probably wont get any of the above done since I will be hanging out at the festival and with friends who are going to be in town for the festival.
For right now, I'm going to go to bed...I'm exhausted!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Denver has been fun...the conference was informative and I'm ready to go back to my classroom and really dive into SIOP more fully. Tonight we went shopping a bit and had dinner at Olive Garden. YUM!
Hopefully, I'll have more to say within the next couple. Maybe not. The Camaii festival is this weekend and there are a couple of people coming in from villages to stay in our extra bedroom. We should be having lots of fun this weekend with the festival. You can check out the dance festival online here.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Today we spent the day in the SIOP conference and learned alot. They really pushed us hard and by the end of the day I was beat tired. It is very rejuvenating to be around other educators that have a passion for what they do. After the conference, I took a nap and now I'm wide awake. Maybe I'll hit the hottub for awhile before going to bed!
Denver from a distance!
The ski train coming back to pick us up! The bunny hills in the background.
The tunnel that the train goes through to pass under/through the continental divide. We were in this tunnel for 12 minutes.
The ski resort at the bottom of the lift.
The amazing view from 9000 feet.
The ride down!
Me and the Colorado Rockies in the background.
The view from the top at the lodge where we had lunch.
Me riding the chair lift.
The chair lift that we rode up to the top of the mountain.
A view of the little ski resort village when we first arrived on the skit train.
These are the mountains we were heading toward.
Where the plains meet the mountains.
Heading up into the mountains on the ski train.
The ladies the I'm traveling with. They've been alot of fun!
Union station in the wee hours of the morning. We caught the ski train from here on Sunday morning.
View of the mountains out of the hotel window.
Our view of the city out of our hotel window.
The Denver airport is way out in the middle of nowhere. It had a weird layout.
All the captions are under the pics since you should work your way up.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I never imagined that a place could be flatter than Ohio or more treeless than Bethel but IT IS! Denver is in the middle of a huge flat barren plain. It is right next to the Rockie mountains. and it amazes me how the mountains spring forth abruptly from such flat treeless land. There are not foothills to lead into the mountains. It is weird...
and totally unexpected!
the planes in went smoothy and I am happy to be back in civilization again. We went downtown tonight to a brewery for dinner and then a comedy show. It was an improv performance and IT WAS HILARIOUS! Maybe I'll grace you with some pics tomorrow.
But right now, the hot tub is calling!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Well, I really dont have much to say actually. I have been spending the last few evenings working late to try to get everything ready for the sub next week. It has been really stressful to prepare for such a major trip in only 4 days. I'm not even ready yet and I leave TOMORROW! My teacher friend who is going to stay here with Avery came over for dinner tonight to hear the drill about the house rules, so Avery is all taken care of. Check! My bags are mostly packed. Part check! My lesson plans are written. Check! Copies made for the sub. No check. Supplies laid out for the sub plans. Partial check. Still alot to do? check.
So, it sounds like the other ladies that I'm traveling with have some pretty fun things lined up. Comedy club on Saturday night, then train trip up to Winter park in the Mountains for some skiing on Sunday all day. Then the conference on Monday and Tuesday and then fly home all day Wednesday.
I dont know how much access to the internet I'll have over while I'm down there, but remember...I'll be back in civilization, which means my cell phone will work (ta-da!). So you can give me a call if you want!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
wait for it....
(you thought I was going to say game night or something, didnt you?)
And by the way, for our vegetarian night this week, we are going to have breakfast for dinner, eggs, hashbrowns, and toast. It will be tomorrow because i didnt decide on the meatless monday thing until today so we'll start that next week!
Monday, March 16, 2009
So, the state audit team was at our school last week and they did end up making it in to my classroom to watch a lesson. We have been studying chromosomal genetic diseases in Biology and the assessor was there to watch a lesson where the kids where giving presentations. The funny thing is that in order to talk about the topic, the words sperm, egg, sex, penis, breasts, testicles, ovaries were used frequently throughout the lesson. The kids where used to talking about these things(they were past the giggling phase that comes with embarrassing topics like those) because we had been studying them and they were all a part of the context of what we were learning, but the state assessor was not there for all of the lessons that led up to talking about those things and it just makes me wonder what they thought of all of that talk? :) The good thing about them being there for that lesson though is that those are the kinds of conversations that the kids actually get involved in, so they were very engaged and asking alot of questions and generally just being very good students and paying close attention. That was Thursday.
On Friday, I had a friend over for dinner and drinks to unwind a bit after a long (but good) week. We sat around and vented a bit and it was good. Then I spent the rest of my Friday night doing a bit of cramming for the Biology Praxis Test that I had to take on Saturday morning.
Saturday I woke up early so that I could leisurely drink coffee and do a bit more studying before I had to go take my test. Then I went and got mentally brain whooped by a few pieces of paper and a scantron bubble sheet. MAN, WAS THAT TEST ROUGH! I dont think it was hard so much as it was just ALOT to do in 2 hours. 150 questions in 120 minutes. I feel confident that I did fairly well, I am pretty sure that I passed. I was certainly bubbled the answer to the last question just as the test proctor was telling us to put down our pencils.
After I was done testing, I went and walked around the saturday market for a little while to see what was going on. It was really a happening place this weekend. Every table was full with someone selling their goods. GCI, the telephone company, had a booth set up trying to get people to sign up for their new "bush" cell phone service. They were giving away free Burger King hamburgers to people who would enter a raffle to win an ATV. I just think it is interesting that that is what would be a big enough bribe to get people over to their table. And it sure was working! It was the most popular table at the market!
After that, I went home and took a nap. after getting whooped by that test I was feeling pretty sleepy. I had a friend over for dinner who helped my get the battery in my truck charged back up. Later, I got together with some friends and had a fun evening. I even got to meet some new Bethel people who are around my age, which was nice because it can sometimes be hard to network with anyone besides teachers.
Sunday I spent the day in the bathroom wrapped around the toilet feeling more sick than I've ever felt. I threw up violently all day long for hours and hours. I couldnt keep anything down...NOTHING. Not even water. It was awful. I was running a fever and shaking with chills. I would go from sweating, then shivering, then back again. I tried to sleep but couldnt because I would wake up and be sick again. I dont know if it was food poisoning or a stomach flu or what. Whatever is was, I hope I never EVER get it again. Today I am not throwing up anymore and can actually function a little bit and I have been able to eat a little bit, but my whole body is sore from all of the retching that I did yesterday and I was still running a fever this morning.
I got to use some of the time in between trips to the bathroom yesterday to finish reading my March book for the birthday list:Number 2. It was Obedience by Will Lavender. It was a conspiracy theory type of book and the first book that Lavender has written. It was pretty good for a first book. Good enough to keep me distracted as to how terrible I felt all day. It was an easy read and I enjoyed it. Speaking of the birthday list...We had two vegetarian nights last week for number 16. One night we had zucchini quiche, baked sweet potatoes, and a salad. Another night we had vegetable stir fry. I've also got my ticket booked for my trip to Vegas this summer for number 7. And I have been working on finding a job in Vegas to complete number 9. I have also still been riding the snow machine almost everywhere so I've been continuing progress on number 11.
An opportunity to go to the SIOP II conference this weekend turned up at the last minute today. I got a phone call from the district office saying that two of the people who were supposed to go to Denver, Colorado for the conference had family emergencies turn up, so I was called to take one of their places. Now I am going to be leaving Friday evening to fly to Denver. We will be gone 5 days. We will get to spend the weekend in Denver before attending the conference on Monday and Tuesday, then flying home Wednesday. I am pretty excited about this opportunity to learn more about SIOP and to see a city that I've never been to.
Let's see...what else?
Avery had all A's and B's on his grade card for the 3rd quarter. He has joined NYO (native youth olympics). It is basically where there are all these events that kids compete in that are supposed to mimick movements that have a link to the native culture, such as the stick pull, seal hop, one foot high kick,two foot high kick, and wrist carry. so far he seems to enjoy it.
Only 9 weeks of school left now. i cant believe how fast this year has gone. I really have alot to get done in and out of the classroom in those weeks before leaving Bethel for the summer.
My truck is not running very well and the snow machine has started giving me a hard time too. It has been cold again lately, which is why. This morning it was down to -9, with -38 windchill. The wind has been rocking Bethel for about 4 days now. There has been a windchill advisory in effect since Friday or Saturday. It is cold! After a week of being in thaw mode and having temps above freezing, this cold snap really seems colder than normal. We are up to 11 hours and 53 minutes of light. The spring equinox is only 2 days away now. It always comes a few days early way up here. We are gaining 5 minutes and 40 seconds each day. It is really nice to have the extra daylight, but it sure does make time fly by.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
The kids that I had as tenth graders last year will be seniors next year and I will get to see them graduate. I've never been able to see any of my students graduate before as a class.
The kids that I had as 8th graders last year will be sophomores next year, which means that I will get most of them again for Biology. I think it will be so fun and interesting to have those kids as students again after a year of growth and maturity. I am really looking forward to this.
I feel like every year I am a better teacher and I really think that I will be even better next year. I have really made some great strides this year in my teaching and have implemented some very successful teaching strategies. BUT a good teacher is never done improving and there are so many more things that I want to do next year to make my classes even better. This is the first year that I have taught the same classes two years in a row. I have been amazed at how satisfying it is to see how I have changed my teaching methods from one year to the next and how that pays off in the motivation and achievement of my students. It really makes me think that where ever I end up next is where I will probably want to stay for some time, if not for the rest of my career.
The money is great! I make twice as much as I would be if I were still teaching in Ohio. We got a nice raise with our new contract this year and we'll get a pretty nice signing bonus in August.
AND...I will get to have Avery as my student next year which may turn out good or not so good, but either way will be interesting.
Avery and I are established here as part of the community. We have friends. We are involved in activities around the community. We know the ins and outs of living here.
We are finally experiencing some of the things I envisioned when moving here. The winter camping, visiting villages, seeing other parts of Alaska, etc.
Another amazing summer! I booked my ticket to Vegas last week and I cant wait to spend the summer in the sun. I cant wait to see my friends and part of my family. I cant wait to wear sandals and tank tops and get a tan!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The last two nights, I havent been able to sleep. I have a hard time falling asleep and then once I do fall asleep I wake up quickly and then cant get back to sleep again. I think it has something to do with daylight savings time because that's when it started, but I've never had a problem with daylight savings time before so I dont know.
All I know is that IT SUCKS. I have been exhausted these last few days. I am tired when I go to bed and then I toss and turn and fall in and out of sleep. I am having a hard time concentrating because I just want to sleep. And this morning I felt as though I might be getting sick and I can only think it must have something to do with being sleep deprived.
What should I do? Any suggestions? Help!
Monday, March 09, 2009
Spring break is over already! Why does it go so fast? I really enjoyed the break. I got alot accomplished, but also spent alot of time just doing nothing. The thing I was looking forward to the most during spring break was just curling up on the couch and reading...and that I did...alot! I finally finished the book that I started way back in January. It usually doesnt take me quite so long to read a book, esp one that I am interested in. I'm not sure what it was about this book, maybe the 937 pages, that took so long to read. I really enjoyed the book and thought it was very well written. It is a piece of historical fiction written, obviously, about Hawaii. It starts with the geography of the land describing in good detail how the land was built. Then, Michener goes on to describe the first habitation of the land by humans coming out of the Polynesian Island of Bora Bora. The book follows the fictional lives of four groups of people and several specific families within those groups. The first is the polynesians, then the missionaries come to the islands. Then, the Chinese come as laborers for the sugar and pineapples fields. Then, the Japanese follow. The book tells the interwoven tale of these four groups of people and how their lives came together on the common ground of Hawaii. The people in the book are fictional, but the essence and underlying theme of the book is true to actuality. If you like historical fiction, you would like this book. I wonder what Michener would think of the islands now?
This is going to be my March book for my birthday list goal of Number 2. Michener also wrote a similar book about Alaska that I have and would like to read, but first I am going to read something that is less demanding. Something for pure enjoyment. Something fluff! Because although, I thoroughly enjoyed Hawaii, it was not an easy read and it was long. But before I get into any other books, I am going to work on my college class stuff.
Things I got accomplished during spring break....
Visited a couple other villages by snow machine
Finished reading Hawaii by James Michener
Worked on my curriculum map
Watched a couple movies
Worked on taxes (other peoples, mine are done)
Organized my important papers
Filed my PFD application (yahoo!)
Took a bath
Gave myself a facial
Cleaned the bathroom
Called about some insurance claims
Got all my March Bday cards ready
Cooked some pretty good meals
Ate too much
Bought mine and Avery's plane tickets for summer
Lined up a place to stay and car to drive for summer (Vegas, baby!)
Slept in everyday
Fixed the brakes on the snowmachine
Rode the snowmachine everyday, but one (it was raining)
Put the Sherrell family photo in a frame
Things I didnt get done over spring break that I wanted to/should have...
Look for a job for this summer
Work on my college class
Study for Praxis test
Request my transcript from my last college class
Order all 2008 photos from snapfish
It is so funny (interesting, weird) that the changing of the seasons seem to so closely match the changing of the months. It always seems as though as soon as we flip the calendar to October, it starts snowing. Now, it seems that as soon as we switched to March, it has started warming up. Considerably. Today is the third day we've had this week that is well above freezing. It is 37 degrees. There is melt water everywhere and on top of that it rained heavily a couple of days ago. It is getting to the point where we may have to stop driving the snowmachine because there is more water than snow. The snow is melting rapidly, including the snow on my front porch. It is like little snow glaciers now.
We are gaining daylight like crazy. 5 minutes and 40 seconds each day. With daylight savings time now in full effect the sun will be staying up until around 9pm which will be AWESOME! There will be so much more to do now that it is light enough to see and the next few weeks will just fly by. We only have 10 weeks of school left and only 11 more weeks until we fly out of here for the summer! Time sure does fly. Even Avery is commenting on how quickly the school year went. It seems they go faster every year.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Napakiak, Alaska is a village of about 350 people (2000 census) located approximately 8 miles SouthWest of Bethel. Almost all of the villagers are Yup'ik people. My estimate would be that the teachers are the majority of the nonYup'ik population. The picture above was taken from the top of the bluff across Johnson slough. The white strip in the background is the Kuskokwim river.
The village is close enough to Bethel that the river road is frequently used by Napakiak residents and therefore, many of them own vehicles (trucks mostly). Vehicles and other things that dont get used in the summer are buried under the winters snow accumulation.
The History of Napakiak according to explorenorth.com Napakiak is on the north bank of the Kuskokwim River, 15 miles southwest of Bethel. It is located on a sandbar between the Kuskokwim River and Johnson's Slough. It lies 407 miles west of Anchorage. It lies at approximately 60° 41' N Latitude, 162° 07' W Longitude (Sec. 17, T007N, R072W, Seward Meridian). The community is located in the Bethel Recording District. The area encompasses 7 sq. miles of land and 0 sq. miles of water.
Yup'ik Eskimos have lived in this region since 1,000 A.D. The village was first reported in 1878 by E.W. Nelson, although it was downriver, at the mouth of the Johnson River. In 1884, Moravian explorers mention Napakiak as being close to Napaskiak, which suggests that the new village site may have been occupied by that time. By 1910, the village had a population of 166. In 1926, the Moravian Church had a lay worker in the village who began constructing a chapel; funds were raised for construction by the Ohio Moravian Association. It took three years to complete the work, and in August 1929, people came from many villages in the area to attend the dedication ceremony. In 1939, a BIA school began operating, and in 1946 a Native-owned village cooperative store was opened. A post office was established in 1951. The National Guard Armory was built in 1960, and the first airstrip was completed in 1973. The City's primary priority at this time is to relocate all public facilities and homes to a bluff across Johnson's Slough. The sandbar on which the City was built is severely eroding.See the power line poles in the background of the picture above which are A-frame style? That is part of the power grid that is hooked up to Bethel without a return. You can find out more about the single wire earth return system by clicking on the link below.
According to this website...
In 1981 a high-power 8.5 mile prototype SWER intertie was successfully installed from a coal plant in Bethel, Alaska to Napakiak, Alaska. It operates at 80 kV, and has special lightweight fiberglass poles forming an A-frame. The poles can be carried on lightweight snow machines, and most poles can be installed with hand tools on permafrost without extensive digging. Erection of “anchoring” poles still required heavy machinery, but the cost savings were dramatic.
The phase conductor also carries a bundle of optical fibres within the steel armor wire, so the system supplies telecommunications as well as power.
Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks estimate that a network of such interties, combined with coastal wind turbines, could substantially reduce Alaska’s dependence on increasingly expensive diesel fuel for power generation. Alaska’s state economic energy screening survey advocated further study of this option to use more of the state’s underutilized power sources.
A new apartment building under construction. I dont know for sure (maybe some of the village teacher who read the blog can comment), but it seems like Napakiak must be one of the few villages that is growing. I saw this new construction and it seemed as if several of the other houses around the village were newly constructed as well.
A church. I believe it is Moravian. The Moravians were some of the first missionaries in this region and their influence is heavy.
I was impressed by how well kept the village looked. Most of the house were in good shape and looked as if they were recently painted. Many of the house were exactly the same.
The health clinic.
The village store.
See the little house next to the bigger brownish colored house on the left? I think that is the sewage collection system. I'm not sure what they do with it after it is collected in this little hut thing though...maybe it is an incinerator and they burn it?
Typical village seen. This was the "downtown" area of the village. It seemed like the older part of the village. More house, more people, more going on. Heavily travelled and that electric pole in the middle running wires out to lots of houses made it look like a christmas tree.
A couple little kids pretend playing on the boat...very cute!
Many houses had BIG satellite dishes...
There always seems to be a cemetery right in the middle of every village.
See the basket thing on wheels to collect trash? I wonder where they take it? Is there a dump or do they ship it to Bethel?
A steam bath house. Water is often scare in villages and many people take steams to clean themselves. Other people just steam for the pure enjoyment of it. And for some Yup'ik people it is a tradition very much ingrained into their culture.
We met some local kids while we were in town. This boy in particular took a liking to Chris and loved the attention that we gave him. He was all for posing for the camera.
Here's Chris being goofy with the kids. It was strange that we were outside talking to these kids for a good half hour. Two strangers to the village talking to a group of about ten kids and not one adult ever came out to see who we were.
The school is a K-12 school. About 45% of the village population are under the age of 18, that means you would expect there to be about 150 kids in this school, but that school doesnt look big enough for that many kids and the school does not have a website so I'm not sure how many kids it serves.
Here is the school play ground and basketball court. And our little friend posing again for the camera. What's with the ballerina pose anyway?