Friday, March 30, 2007

Quick Quick Quick

Three quick items to report.

1. It is currently snowing outside. Great big snow-globe type flakes are falling from the sky. (This means that it is finally
warm enough for a pretty snowfall.)

2. I saw two Ravens today! The birds are coming back. It really is spring.

3. I have not been this relieved about it being Friday since that time almost exactly a week ago.

That is all.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Feet up and skinning

Think about your favorite piece of furniture. Everyone has something.
Some people like their grandmother’s china cabinet.
Some have a penchant for a handmade end table.

Some prefer the luxury of a cushy recliner chair.

I met one of my student’s fathers today. He was a funny old man. Jolly even, complete with big smiles and goofy stories of days gone by. We discussed his son’s behavior in class and the state of his grades. And he told me about “old Barrow” with the dogs and honey buckets and seals a-plenty. How resourceful and natural they used to be.
How much better it was back then.

As he was moving to leave he pulled his beaver skinned hat onto his nearly balding head when something struck me. The “leather” on his hat was not tan or white or any other natural shade.
It was blue.

With a curious look I asked him about his hat.

He told me one last story. “I had this old recliner chair, quite a few years ago. Most comfortable thing I ever sat on. It was pretty dirty, but I just loved it. My wife told me I had to get rid of it, once the thing started to smell bad.
So, I skinned that chair and made me a pair of gloves this hat.
It doesn’t smell as much as a hat.”

This is a man after my own heart. I wish I still had pieces of all my old recliners. I could have a bloody quilt by now.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Tickling the tonsils

I use blogging as a useful avoidance technique.

I have this really long (2500 word) essay to write.
There used to be two essays, but I managed to actually complete on and send it off. Now I am on the second. It, of course, is the much longer and daunting-er one (yes, I understand that that is not a word. No, I do not care.)

I am, however, 579 words into the essay and decided that that warranted a break.
And possible a few big swigs from a large bottle of something containing alcohol.
(damn, the only alcohol I have in the place is my mouth wash.)

You think Listerine mixes well with coke?

Anyway, for your reading pleasure, and my avoidance of a terribly tough essay, I bring you, Nose Rockets.

Green gooeyness.

The stuff that resides in a persons’ nose is of a regular contention in the arctic.

I have, on a prior occasion, talked at length of nostril trash, about the fact that the state of your nose is very dependent on the dryness of the air.

For some reason, still unexplainable to myself, we have been particularly dry. We are talking about crazy super dry.
The frizzy hair, clingy everything, flaky skin kinda dry.

The kind that creates static with every movement. The act of traveling from my trusty recliner to the bathroom causes enough static to shock the hell out of me when I reach for the light switch. Enough so that the hair on my opposite arm is moved to stand on end.

But the numbing of my fingers is not the point at this particular juncture.
Though, if it was, I would take this time to tell you the story of a funny little shock I got today. Lets just say it involved a cup of water, no metal, and a bright blue spark.

Oh, I just can’t leave it all cryptic! I touched the water in my plastic cup to check the temperature (my faucet does this quirky hot then cold then hot again thing.) And I was shocked.
Static shock from freaking water.
Good story…

Anyway. Back to boogers.

I have had the worst nose gunk lately. We are talking about huge, uncomfortable clogs in my nasal cavity. The kind that undulate disconcertingly with every breath, but refuse to budge when you try to politly blow them out into a Kleenex.
The kind that you have to dig for.
The kind that almost make a popping noise when removed because they are so damn big.

The kind that are so massive they dangle down the back of your throat. When you dig them free you feel them dragging from deep inside your face.

I have had my finger knuckle deep in my nostril for much of the week.

Good thing I have nice long nails…

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Gnawing at the dark

It’s happening again.
Freaking hell.

Once again I cannot trust myself. Once again I cannot trust nature.
Once again, I cannot trust the sun.

For the past few months I have trusted the sun to not really be around. When it was around, after being gone for so long, I trusted it to remain mostly hidden and only make short guest appearances.
Slowly, the sun has been coming back. It has been a gradual emergence. Slowly adding more and more minutes to my daily routine.

But as the days have past the sun has grown.

I was sitting in my comfy recliner today.
Watching TV.
Surfing the net.
Avoiding my essays.

A gnawing thought swelled in my head, “I should grab something to eat. It’s getting to be that time.”
The sun was disappearing. It looked to be early evening in the Arctic.

I scampered to the kitchen to begin my usual dinner dance. Open the cabinets, close the cabinets, open the fridge, close the fridge.
Repeat for at least 20 minutes.

Then I happened a glance at the tiny digital clock nested on my oven.

It was 9 o’clock in the freaking evening.

The sun is now exerting its presence until just after 9.
Damnit a lot.

We are merely weeks away from the 24 hour light.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Dirty deeds

Remember, way back when, when I told you a story of fun movies.
The student who left their favorite DVD in the laptop while he sent it into the tech department for repairs.

Well, as it turns, dirty files don’t always need a disc.

One of our tech guys has been remotely checking the files on student computers. He has the spy vs. spy job of making sure there is nothing risqué clogging up the hard drives.

He said that every night since he started this little project he has had the driving urge to wash he brain out with Drain-O.

What with the email bullying, the explicit lyrics, and the hard core pornography.

One had gang related rap music.
One had a few files of scantily clad cheerleaders.

One of my students was found with 8 full-length movies and several folders with hundreds of still shots.
All of an adult nature.

One had multiple clips of video and pictures with the most “alluring” titles. Many with the F-word repeated over and over again.
That alone does not make this students’ computer more shocking than the others.
What makes his “collection” so distressing is the simple fact that the computer he used on his fun hunt was a loaner. One that never actually left the building.

He acquired all his porn during the narrow span of the school day.

I just hope it wasn’t during math…

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

If a tree falls...

In my “science” class we have been discussing fossil fuels and the role they play in our society and environment. We have looked at them from all directions with me trying to keep my inner tree-hugger at bay.

Today we were talking about coal mining and the dangers it presents to the environment and the people involved.

Lucky for us, that mine in Russia had exploded at a perfect time. Allowing me to integrate Current Events into the lesson.

So we began talking about miners. How perilous the job is. The different hazards they can and do face. What job canaries once preformed.

There was a look of perplexity on the face of one student for much of our discussion.

Every time I mentioned the role of a miner.
Or the number of miners who died in the blast.
Or the location of this mining town.
The look of her face just became more twisted.

Finally she asked the question so forcibly on her mind.

“Miners?” She said tentatively. “You mean those guys who can’t talk and are stuck in a box?”

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Once again I have donned another hat.

My hats are not the big white ones with flowers or the feathered cowboy-ish ones or the cute old fashion messenger ones. Instead, they are the ones with little tags.

The kind of hats that are attached to jobs.

I have a lot of hats.

My new one is fun. It is actually my favorite hat of all.

I am now a volleyball coach.


The best part of the whole thing is,
Get this,
I actually know all the rules!

It’s true.

Well, mostly true.
I know almost all the rules.

I know that you play with a soft-ish white ball. I know that there is a long net in the middle.
I know that there are no hoops involved what-so-ever.

I was a ref this weekend. It was nearly successful. There were a few frightening moments where I had a give a sudden scared look of confusion to the other coaches. They set me strait.

By the end of the game I was a ref extraordinaire.
All the rules were completely clear.
Well, mostly clear.
Clear like kool-aid.

Just give me time and I will be the best volleyball-er ever.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


There is a problem with the dryness that goes far beyond the normal static-y shock-y-ness. This problem lies near and dear to my head.
The problem that is currently causing my current despondency is serious split-ends.

I mean major split-ends.

The kind that can rear up and eat your soul.

The kind that makes my head look something akin to a giant furry bunny on speed.

A few moments ago I was rubbing my eyebrow and one of the little hairs fell out. Nothing too exciting. Nothing note worthy.
Certainly nothing to write about
Until I looked a bit closer.

Something about the hair made me take pause.
Something made me stare a little harder.

It had a freaking split-end!

My eyebrow had a freaking split-end!

How the bloody hell?

Should I start conditioning my forehead?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Peace and Love

Bring on the bell-bottoms and the flower power! I am showing evidence of my hippy-ish nature. Well, more than usual, at least.
For the past few weeks my “Science” class has been studying the environment, pollution, and how to hug trees.

We recycled paper and made “Save the Earth” posters out of them.

I am seriously proud of this bulletin board.

And all the kids keep asking me if I wore tie-dye in the 70’s.
Or if I ever owned a VW van.

I totally wish…

So, here is the hippy-ness of me!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Where the hell are my words?

Writing has always been a sore area for me.
I love to write. I sit in front of this little computer and type away at little stories and what not.
I even like to write papers of an academic nature. Back, in those college years, the only classes I received decent grades in were the ones that required something written.*

So that fact that I am staring at a blank screen and hitting the “backspace” key more often than I hit the ones with the little letters on them ah
is really starting to bother me.

I am attempting to write an essay about my future.

A future.

It’s an interesting concept.
I am often not entirely sure that I have a future. Sometimes I think about what I am going to do tomorrow and I draw a blank.
Then I think about what I did yesterday… I guess the fog goes both ways.

I am annoyed.
Freaking writer’s block.
Or rather, wanna-be writer’s block.

Allow me to explain, I have to write this essay. A rather important essay. Actually two essays.
One that could bring me something I have been attempting to attain for a while now.
One that could bring me, so long as the first one pans out, money and a wee bit of comfort.
And the ability to not live in a cardboard box next year.

Though, if I am forced to be a box dweller, I have decided on the type of box in which I would reside. I mean, if there is the chance of being all destitute and homeless, a person has to have a plan.
Schematics, you know.
I was thinking that those fun waxy fruit storage boxes would be the best kind for my type of back alley mansion. Less rain damage that way.

Anyway, back to this essays.

I can’t really tell you the purpose of these essays. The reason for the painful, brain tearing typing.
I refuse to allude to the motive until I have a piece of paper assuring that what I think is true is actually true.
Instead, I will be all cryptic and confusing. It’s just so much more fun that way.

Plus, announcements are best left to a time when they are all official, knowledgeable, and correct.
I would hate to have to retract what I think will happen on the off chance that it doesn’t.

Back to the essays.

No really, I have to get back to the essays.

*Except, of course, for those few professors that held the firm belief that sarcasm and creative asides have no place in a pedantic writing assignment.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


It is spring.

The sub zero temperatures maybe lead one to believe that winter is still hard upon us, but that assumption would be wrong.

In the world of the contiguous United States “spring” means flowers budding, leaves growing, and, of course, the introduction of sandals into the daily wardrobe.
The Arctic is different. There are no trees for those shiny green leaves to sprout from. There are no brightly colored tulips littering the lawns.
And with several feet of snow staying on the ground until well into June, sandals stay banished in the back of the closet.

Here, the idea of spring is very different. Spring is the time when the light comes back.
And does it come back!

It is after 7 pm and the sky is still bright.

Not too very long ago the sun was something of a dream. It was something they had in the “real world.”
Maybe on TV.
Maybe created by the same crazy directors that staged the whole “moon landing” thing.

Now, the sun is here. It is making its presence known. The kiddies are going nuts. They feel the sun. They want to bask in its rays.

The bright and happy nature of all this UV makes a person want to run outside and dance. But our persistent “very cold-ness” makes fun in the sun a rather difficult thing to accomplish.

Therefore we just go crazy.

Class this week was particularly challenging. The air was damn close to zero and the wind chill was low.

The sun was shining.

I was hard to be inside. The kids were more rambunctious than normal.
Spring has just sprung.
And it’s barely March.

This is going to be a looong final quarter.


The back pocket of my jeans is home to a plethora of objects.
On any given day there are a number of things residing close to my tushy.
Wayward homework assignments, tardy slips, pens, sharpened pencils, phone cards, lunch tickets, and, on the rare occasion, money, all finds solace in my jeans.

On this particular day all of the above were right behind me. Suddenly, I was approached with a need to retrieve one the many items from those endless depths.
Particularly the money part.

I reached in, and with a determined motion, yanking out the required paper. Unfortunately, this motion caused a problem. The much needed 10 dollar bill was wrapped around a Bic pen. My quick “grasp and pull” sliced the bill directly down the center.


Now comes the fixing.

I have a lack of tape. Nowhere in my apartment, nowhere in this duct-tape worshiping home was a sticky slice of adhesive.

But the money! I desperately needed the money!

So, I did the next best thing.

Wish me luck with the spending!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Race Relations

“Ms Mac! Bob’s* making fun of me because I’m fat!” Squealed one of my Inupiat students.

“No! Ms Mac! Only cause Tom’s* making fun of my because I’m white.” Responded a student of a paler complexion.

“Well, you are white!” Tom retaliated.

“Well, you are fat!” Bob screeched.

“Oh yeah? At least there’s nothing wrong with being fat!”

I just stared, at a complete loss for words.
I love my class.

* Names have been changed to protect the ignorant.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

An eye for an eye

By popular demand I am here to tell “The story of my eye.”

Ok, it wasn’t really popular demand, more the request of one person. But we are going to consider it popular demand. It’s my page. I can do whatever I want.
So, here goes the fairly short and quite uninteresting story of the slight suffering and mild pain.

About three weeks ago I was diagnosed with some sort of eye infection. At this point I am not sure what exactly I had. There have been several different theories. The ideas range from pinkeye to African trypanosomiasis.
I prefer the latter. It would explain my constant want for a nap.
And it’s always cooler to have a malady that you cannot pronounce.

Alas, it seemed that my illness would soon be over. I was prescribed a little bottle of antibiotic drops and given the instructions to keep on dripping away until two days after the symptoms disappear.
The next day brought relief, the ichy swollen grossness was on its way out, promising a life-time of shiny happy eyes.

But, due to the fact that I have rarely experienced the normal course of any illness, something had to go wrong. In this case it was an allergic reaction to the drops. A gradual reaction that slowly made my already raw eyes more and more ichy and painful and, well, a deep shade of scarlet.

So gradual that I didn’t realize that it was, in fact, an allergic reaction. I figured I was just taking my bloody time in the healing process. The whole “darker before dawn” premise of medicine.

10 days of drops later my eyes had morphed into crusty painful holes of sensitivity.
Five minutes and an internet search later I figured everything out. There are several side effects to my meds, plus a high incidence of allergic reactions.
I am stupid.

So I went off the drops. And to my surprise, instead of everything clearing up, it just got worse.
Except instead of the eyeball being sick, it was the area around my eye. Swollen and huge eye-lid. Discolored and gross.

I told the kids I was punched in the face by a polar bear.

At this point everyone, including my principal was urging me to make a trip to Anchorage. Get everything checked out.

So, do I take this advice?
Do I for to the big city for a few nights on the town.
And a doctors’ appointment, of course.

Oh no, I make one last ditch effort at the “clinic’ here.
She prescribed me steroids. That, along with making my heart race 1000 miles an hour and my hands shake like I was the camera man for the Blair Witch Project, made my eye all better.

I am now back to a clear eye-ed health and am looking forward to a few injury free weeks.
Knock on wood.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi

I have, on more than one occasion, mentioned the incidence on static in this barren land.
I have another story to tell. I think this one will top any that came before and could ever come again.

Static can break things. (My eject button)
Static can hurt. (Every time you touch metal)

And now static can wound your very soul.

A fellow educator came to work today wearing a very stylish outfit.
Black pants and a shiny red blazer.
She took off her coat, ready for the day.

That is when we saw it. A pair of pink panties static clung to the back of her thigh.

Oooh, electrons, you sneaky bastards, you win again!

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