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.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Mountain Dew Challenge

I feel a little bit like this should be written in the style of a marooned sailor: "Day 18 of my abandonment. Looked for fruit this morning, will go to the lookout fire this afternoon. . ."
So here it is: "Day 6 of my Mountain Dew deprivation. I worked at the student store today, and stared longingly at the glass front refrigerator."

Friday, October 16, 2009


Dividend, also called Div for short, is one of the greatest parts of living in Alaska!!
False rumors about the Div:
-You just have to be in Alaska one day a year.
-We all have to come up here to be counted.
-They give it to you when you show up.
-You have to be a native.
-It's different amounts based on how long you've been in the state.

The truth about the Dividend:
-Once you have been in the state for a whole calendar year, you are able to apply in March, to be paid in October. So, when I started in Aug of '04, none of that counted. I was here for all of '05, so that counted, and I got my first check the fall of '06.
-The amount being paid is based on the average of the last five years' profits of state investments.
-The first people to be paid are those with automatic payments to Alaska state bank accounts. The rest of us (who still bank at home), get our checks several weeks later.
-The first year, you have to have two people vouch for you, and after that, you can just re-up. However, you have to re-up, because they won't just send it to you.

Last year, the dividend was $1800, and we were given an additional $1,200 gas credit. A three thousand dollar bonus was very nice. It almost covered the extra cost of plane tickets, rent, and $8 a gallon for milk.

This year, it's $1,305. This will pretty much cover my plane tickets home for the summer. Yup, that's it. And people wonder why I don't come home for Christmas.

The key to getting a div is to remember that you can't get into the habit of spending the money frivolously, because then you get into the habit of spending that way.

Most of the people in the village have gotten theirs, and have already spent half of them. New shoes, iPods, and four-wheelers. Since parents aren't required to give their children the money until they're old enough (I want to say 16 or 18). That way, last year for example, a family with two parents and four kids would receive $18,000. Enough to buy a new boat, snow-machine, or other major purchase.

Everybody knows we're getting this money. Because of that, everyone is looking for their cut of our money. the following WONDERFUL DEALS are available right now:
-Car lots offer deals where you can get the car now, and can sign your div over to them later.
-Plane tickets are CHEEP this time of year, especially from Anchorage to Hawaii.
-Electronics in Nome are on sale, and we've all been given flyers.

Well, now it's just time to sit back and wait for my check to come in.


After my previous posting about my new need for glasses, and the overwhelming response I've gotten from some lovely ladies telling me to be nicer to myself, or they'll be meaner to me (I know, it doesn't make sense to me either.), I've decided to say some nice things about them.

My sister Crystal called me the other night, as Peg. Now, Peg is the regional President of FOMA, or Future Old Maids of America, for those of you not in the know. I can't be regional president, I just don't have the time. Anyway, here is a list of upcoming activities that Peg has informed me are upcoming:

-Thanksgiving Table for one Pie Eating Contest.
-The Autumn Ho-Down Chow Down, which consists of a gallon of Moose Tracks Ice Cream.
-The Christmas Sing-Alone. Where everyone sits in their own house, crooning their Christmas songs by themselves. It's not as sad as it sounds. Boots and Mr. Whiskers can join in the harmony.

There are some more. I'll write them down when I check the message again later.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Getting Older

For those of you not in the know, I am 28. This bothers me a little bit, but hasn't really affected my life. Until yesterday, when I got these:

Next thing you know, I'll need a walker.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Today, during my prep period, I grabbed the two girls I have in here, and went on an impromptu field trip.  I know, you're wondering why I have students during my prep. They're independently  taking a college course that starts halfway through the hour, so they hang out, then get their laptops and follow along. I'm so proud of them. 
Back to the point: Only one of my girls was 18 yet. The other is still 17, but we didn't want to leave her. When we got there, I showed the 17 year old how to sign in, and I let her go in my little booth with me and mark my ballots. I have a memory of my dad showing me how to do this when I was a little kid.

Side story: Once, when I was home from college, my parents loaded all the grown-ups into the van, and we all five went down and voted. They were pretty excited to see us.

While Holly, the 18 year old, finished filling out her registration, I chatted with the ladies, and in the end, we all got 

Now that we're back in class, Heather is doing work for her college class. She read out loud: "From the top of the mountain, Derek was able to take a breathtaking. . ." and then stopped. So I said, as I do, "panoramic" figuring she was just stuck on the big word. She looked at me in shock. 
"Exactly" she said, "how did you know?!" Turns out she's doing her Greek and Latin prefixes. Whoops.