Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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Nome, Alaska, United States
After getting burned out teaching high school in a tiny Alaskan town, I have moved on to being a child advocate in a small Alaskan town. The struggles are similar, but now I can buy milk at the store.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lake Deighton

Okay, this picture is really washed out, but it's the best I've got for now.
On the very left is my house, right next to it is the small bit of melted area, which melted because the heat from the house has a problem staying in the house.
Then my pet snow-drift, the bin I empty the honey-bucket into, and there, on the right, that shiny spot: the beginnings of Lake Deighton. Right now, it's about two feet long and about 8 inches wide. Before this thaw is over, it will be 12 feet long, and 5 feet wide.  Keep an eye out, and we'll all watch it grow together.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Alien Abduction

Yesterday was just a normal day, but I knew that was too good to be true...

We would now like to interrupt your regularly scheduled blog for this important announcement:

For those of you not in the know, I had a little contest last week for a new name to call you, besides just "you". 

Here is the list of possible names:

  • Bob. You could start all your entries, "Dear Bob."
  • Since this Blog could be construed as a giant singles ad, I could address all my blog entries to "Future Husband" or "Prince Charming..."
  • Indian name for myself: Chief Shorts Under Skirt for Safety Reasons 
  • Fans
  • blogspotees, 
  • peons 
  • my people - Matthew style, or shorten the last to peeps, 
  • blog junkies, 
  • "Shtiya" which is an alaskan name meaning My Strength.
As much fun as it would be to simply refer to all of you as Bob, that might be a little confusing, as everyone knows my imaginary friend is named Billy-Bob-Bo-Ray, and I don't want any confusion. I can't think of an Indian name that wasn't hugely pretentious, or self-insulting. I find that calling you "peons" fits in the same category of "pretentious."
Since I am too tired after Spring Carnival, more on that later, to come up with anything of my own, I shall be calling you "my devoted fans." Or, more specifically, we'll give it a shot and see how it goes.

In conclusion, my devoted fans, it seems that the winner of my little contest is one Ms. Haley Beth Smith, or, as she likes to be called now, Mrs. Haley Beth "something-or-other." The funny part of this is that she is the one who gave me the idea in the first place. Thanks Haley. Present to arrive sometime soon. 

Thanks to everyone who participated.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled post.

Once we got the green slime washed off, no one noticed the difference. Funny, huh?

Monday, April 13, 2009


Over the course of my life, I have been called many things. Some silly, some sweet, and some just plain irritating. 
You, however, I have no name for.  In reading the blogs of others, I have been referred to as both a "blogging BFF" and a "gentle reader." While I like being both a blogging BFF and a gentle reader, I have a problem using either of these on you. Not because they're not wonderful, they are, but I'm looking for something a little more me. (And yes, for those of you thinking it: I know you're not gentle).

So, it's contest time. 

Feel free to put as many choices for what you want to be called in the comments section. I'm going to let this run for about a week, and then pick one. The winner will be sent a present. Probably of the Eskimo variety. Maybe something made of seal skin, maybe something beaded. I'll figure it out as the time approaches.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

State Testing

Hello Everyone!  For those of you not in the know, this week was testing week here in Alaska. Most states have some sort of test that proves students are bright enough to graduate. Here in AK, we call it the HSGQE. High School Graduation Qualifying Exam.

In a school this small, we have a shortage of places to put kids. Every grade needs to have at least two places for testing. Those with accommodations, those without. Students with accommodations run the gambit from just needing extra time, to needing the entire test read to them because English isn't their first language. Some of these accommodations can be upheld with others in the same room. Others can't.  Every possible room is used. Offices, the storage room the seniors keep pop in, one of the teacher's living rooms, and some other, unsavory places.

This leads us to the point of the post: On Wednesday, from the hours of 9:30-2:00, I was given four kids, in the absolutely worst place in the whole school. . . 
Actually, that's not entirely true. There is one place worse. The boys locker room. To get to the girls locker room, one must walk through the girls bathroom, and past the tampon machine. Here is a thought for you: I tested one girl, and three boys. If you think the average 14 year old boy can't handle walking through the underwear aisle at the store, just imagine what it was like for them to walk past that small white box.

Here is the girls' locker room. One table is still in there, but the other one has been taken back to the room we "acquired" it from. It's a pretty tight squeeze with two tables and five people in there. The bench couldn't be moved, as it is bolted to the floor, so one of the kids didn't even get the benefit of a lumbar supporting chair. 

For lunch on this magical day, they had burritos. Yup. Stuck in a small room with a bunch of boys on burrito day. When they felt the need to pass gas, they came here, the shower. As if, somehow, we wouldn't be able to smell them from this far away. 

The silver lining of this whole event was that I didn't have to call in to the office to get a chaperone to walk my kids to the bathroom like everyone else did. Maybe I'll talk that aspect up next year, and see if I can't convince someone else that they REALLY want to hang out in a locker room for 5 hours. 

Friday is the last day, and then we're done for another six months, when the retakes start.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Okay, Ladies and Gentlemen. It has come to my attention that I have not posted anything in six days. Who knew my life was so boring? Oh, turns out I did. 

I had the opportunity to help babysit some kids while their parents were "waiting." To the average person, this may be slightly confusing. Here in the Bush, waiting means something a little different.

While most parts of a pregnancy work just like you'd expect, delivery is a little different here, away from medical care.  Three to six weeks before a woman's due date, depending on the pregnancy, they leave town and fly to Nome. There is a Maternity house there, where all the pregnant women live together, and wait to go into labour. 

There are doctors in Nome, and most women do just fine there. However, when there's a problem, they get shipped off to Anchorage.

Right now, our science teachers wife is in Nome, waiting. If the baby doesn't come by Monday, she's getting shipped off to Anchorage, and that kid is going to be born on Tuesday, by hook or by crook. 

This separation, especially between the mother and the young children she's leaving behind is often stressful.  

Once the child is born, there's a couple days of recovery, and mom flies home with the baby. At a time when most women won't take the baby to church yet, let alone the grocery store, the women of my village pack up the kid and everything they needed for the last month, and get on a plane to return home. 

Have I mentioned that the women in my village are amazing? The women in my village are amazing.