Simply, FYI from our house to yours!!

Spring. Only 3 weeks of school left after this week is over! Jason mentioned how he has goose bumps from the mention of duck hunting, we ate a goose that was caught last fall for dinner tonight. The meat was falling off the legs and the breast meat was phenomenally moist and tasty! Jay and I have adopted the tradition of getting up at 5 am and going out to Mukluk to hunt birds, only to return at 8 am, just in time for work! :) One year I showed up at a morning meeting with rubber boots, reeeeal village girl I am I guess.

Changes. Next year I'll step into a new role as a home schooling mom for Ethan and Romay. This has it's benefits. One, we can "put God back into school." This means learning history with God in the process! It is always amazing how "hush hush" public school is about the "real" history of our nation. Two, with the transition of the kids coming from Nome, they can play a little catch up with their levels and get ahead. We have lots of ideas and more than 1/2 of the real good ideas are the kids ideas! I'm excited that the kids are excited about learning at home with me. Secondly, I'll be returning to school for a masters degree in rural development. This has another story and I have reasons for going for this particular degree. Rural development is a great fit for me, a natural next step for a Native educator wanting to learn more about history and current issues regarding the corporate world and rural life. Jason will have to teach in a classroom in which his wife is no longer a neighbor :( Even the little things affect us. That is Jason's big change as he will return to teach reading.

Exercise. Jay and I have been running more on the treadmill. Secretly, I'm hoping to kick his butt this summer in our little runs up the road. You know how wirey he is, like he hardly has to work and makes running look natural. Well, people like me and my physique require work. Yeah, I enjoy competition.

Just hoping that you all are doing well.....That your tables are full of food and friends from time to time. We can't wait to meet up with "you" this summer!!!



Our camera is still suffering from an allergic reaction to a fall it took during the Golovin PeeWee basketball tournament and so I can't offer any cool pictures this time around. However, if you would like to see some photo coverage of the BSSD Native Youth Olympics that took place here this weekend, I would highly recommend checking out www.bssd.org. They will have a link that will direct you to a collection of photos and statistics. Had I thought ahead, I would have directed you to the link prior to this weekend so that you could have seen the live streamed coverage that the techies offer through the Bering Straits.
The games go back quite a ways with their cultural beginnings being the winter lodges of various villages. Myra will have to make a more in depth post concerning the proper words and what not. I think my family around here asks me to say and spell Eskimo words just so they can have a chance to laugh at me. My understanding though is that peoples would get together for various reasons throughout the winter when the trails would get good enough to travel on. The villages would watch and cheer on their athletes and enjoy the reprieve from the long cold winter months through the warm fellowship with family and friends.
This is not meant to be a masters thesis on the Eskimo culture of the Norton Sound and so I will try to make my thoughts more concise. I was absolutely amazed tonight by the athleticism that I witnessed. There were kids out there that could jump off of one foot, kick a ball the size of a small peanut butter jar that was suspended 96" (keep in mind that I am only 76" and considered a giant in my village), and then land on the same foot without falling down. Franklin Adams from Koyuk won it tonight with 98" and he also won the two foot high kick... the kid only stands up to around my shoulder. Believe it... or not.
Like the traditional get togethers of years past, this event was also a great chance to see old friends again. I had so much fun just sitting and watching Myra interact with Auntie Willa. They told silly stories and laughed the entire time. I got a strange glimpse at what Myra and Terra will be like in about fifteen years when they are taking over and running NYO. They will have to work at opposite ends of the court if they ever plan on getting anything done without giggling through the whole thing.
I have to admit that NYO is one of my new favorite sports. It was a great chance to get together, encourage each other, smile, and laugh while enjoying our culture. Again, Myra is humble enough not to mention it, but I have to admit that I was over come with prde when they announced Myra as being a Bering Straits School District record holder in the scissor broad jump. Her record has stood for 13 years.


Students Ask....

There is officially 5 weeks left of school, you can imagine the amount of anticipation Jay and I are beginning to feel as the temperatures and light increase, thus summer creeping closer and closer. We've both invested 6 years in the BSSD and take time to recount the memories. This past week I had inquiring students that asked, "so, how did you and Jason meet?" The answer can take interesting perspectives, depending on what you think of when one mentions, "Nome."
Ours was quite innocent, we were both there taking a class to become certified coaches through the district, in a weekend. Actually, to begin with, I felt shy around Jason, yet comfortable. I recount leaving the class friday evening and this energetic, tall, outspoken man approaches me and practically vibrates with emotion and zeal, "hey, you're that famous girl on the BSSD poster...." "Yeah." WHAT a response! And I cooly turn around, feeling like I had just been on a smooth plane ride and hit some unexpected turbulence. Well, that wasn't the end. The next week in Unalakleet the October inservince happened to be going on and this time I was "prepared" to talk and interact with Jay. It wasn't like I was intimidated, just knowing that I had not given him a just sounding response to his question the week before. Whaddya know, we ended up playing pick up basketball games the first evening, PERFECT, well, for me. Jason was a swimmer in college, a liberal arts division III school in Michigan. As you can imagine, coming from Unalakleet, I'd say that I was a bit of a maniac when it came to basketball. At that time in my life, if someone played basketball with me, it was like going on a cruise together with special friends. I'll remember your name, address, whatever and I am TERRIBLE with names!! Well, Jason continued to pursue after a week of inservice with email and eventual phone calls and even a trip out to Elim! BSSD, it's not the first time the district has brought two people together, wonder how many married folks are out there through district events?


We need help...

Guess what, Jay did curls with some weights 2 days ago. As a result, his arms can't straighten out. Today I saw him walking with them bent even though he was relaxing. Silly huh?



It has been a while since this has been updated, and since I realize that Myra is both very busy as well as modest, it will be my job to fill in the world on her first. The camera did not want to cooperate due to wind, snow, and -20 temperatures before wind chill and so a quick story will have to do.
A small group of us headed out toward Igloodelek three weeks ago to see about adding to the meat supply in our freezer. Myra, Jen (our friend and the school's kindergarten teacher), Joe (our friend the science teacher), his 16-year-old son Will, and I mounted up on two machines as well as two sleds... yes, we were slightly cramped. We looked more like a band of gypsys headed for a new town than hunters out to bag a few bou. But, we were all smiles and ready for adventure.
Will just relocated from Louisianna where he had been living with his mother. This meant two things: one, his blood is thin, and two, he doesn't have proper gear yet. Northern Michigan ice fishermen dress warmer than this poor boy did and he found himself in a sleeping bag not five miles from town in order to stay warm... again, this adds to the band of gypsys image, or as Joe referred to us, "The Beverly Hillbillies."
"Will, you all right in there?" came the drawled Louisianna accent of a concerned father.
"Yumph, Um alwright," would come the muffled, but warm reply.
And so we proceded on until yet another small wrinkle in our plan would show. I had engineered a sled that I was rather proud of since it was made out of nothing but scrap materials had cost me about 57 cents to construct. I guess I should have invested a little more as the bumps of the unseasonably bare tussocks was more than it could handle and Myra, the lone passenger in the sled, began to notice it began to give a little more than it should... Myra is saying that this is getting a little long and so I will get to the point... the sled was no longer something we would think of carting a human cargo in safely and so Myra piled on to the sled with will, who I think appreciated the extra insulation another human body gave.
We ran into some small groups of caribou and the main group stopped off by some cover while I tried to cowboy them over... these caribou had not seen any John Wayne movies recently and so were less than cooperative. They would allow me close enough to pick them off with a pistol, but would not let me steer them over to the other hunters. The goal was to get a first caribou for Myra, Jen, and Will. New plan.
We all got back on machines and tried to get into position... insert dueling banjo music here... Jen was on a machine with me, but every time we would get in to range, she would get off of the machine, get her mittens off, take the gun off safety, get a shell jammed, get the shell unjammed, aim... the caribou would run. This happened more times than worth recounting here and we soon gave up and headed back to where we though the other group of hunters was waiting... that turned out to be another group of caribou... that again escaped us. During our strange Dances with Caribou scene, Myra, Will, and Joe had each managed to shot a caribou a piece... Myra with an amazing shot to the spine of a caribou standing about 70 yards away, put it down with one humane shot with a 30-06. Will put a well place 30-30 bullet into a caribou's heart... and to this day, Joe swears that the only reason he shot his caribou up the butt hole was because it was the only shot that presented itself.
We set to butchering, and though disappointed, Jen was okay with not getting her first that day. During the butchering, she was amazed by the anatomy of the bull caribou...
"They're that big!" she yelled in amazement.
The rest of us just chuckled thinking no more about it. This was her first time up close to an animal like this and it was understandable that she have that reaction... it was not until later that her comment really hit with its true relevance.
On the way home, all loaded onto sleds and machines, butchering all done, we ran into one lone caribou bull silhoetted perfectly on a hilltop. We all stop, and after a short debate decide this is Jen's chance. Out comes a 30-30... out come six shots from the gun. The caribou stands and looks around. Out comes the 30-06, three thunderous shots and the caribou begins to walk away. The caribou was over a hundred yards away and by now Jen is really frustrated... three more shots with the final being punctuated by that reassuring thwapp letting us know that she had finally connected. A short stagger and her bull is down. Cheers, back slaps, and we go look at it and see that she has actually hit it three times. The last was a good heart shot, one skimmed the back taking a tuft of hair, and the shocking one was the bullet that passed through the lower hind quarter, skimming the groin area, and the poor buggers anatomy. We all figured that she must have hit him there with one of the first ones and he had stayed around because he had nothing left to live for.
We threw this last bou on the home made 57 cent sled that soon evaporated, we rigged up a frame for it to slide on, burnt that out on the snow, had someone throw it on a sled on their way by, left for home again with Jen and Will going hypothermic on us... this problem was solved by putting Jen in the sleeping bag with Will... only in a small bush village on the freezing tundra would you put the kindergarten teacher in the same bag with a high school student without attracting world wide news.
So, this short story now going long tells of four firsts: My's first bou, Will's first bou, Jen's first bou, and the world's first long distance castration with a high powered rifle. Oh, five firsts if you count seeing Joe stick his frozen bare hands on his near molten hot muffler for the first time.