Tuesday, March 30, 2010

4 weeks until I'm under a DIRTY TREE.

T minus four weeks from yesterday I'll turn Thirty Three. Yikes. 33. The big THREE-THREE. Call me crazy, but I don't feel thirty three. I feel thirty one. haha. Just kidding. One of my younger cousins wrote a note to her best friend a while back, it said, "Dear XXX, you are my best friend. We will be best friends FOREVER, even when we're thirty."

Thanks for making me feel old yo. OK, so, since its four weeks until my birthday, I wanted to 1, remind those of you who want to get me a gift that shipping takes a while to get to Kotz. and 2, show you a list I made a while back, entitled:

THIRTY THINGS TO DO WHILE I'M THIRTY.

Let's see how I did:

Sitting here on the dark side of 30, I've been looking back fondly on my wild and woolly youth -- though some might describe it as mild and cottony. Anyway, I thought I would share some of my observations (and opinions) on important things to accomplish while I'm 30.

Since my 30th year is coming to an end, and April is the last month I can do what was on my list. I think I'm going to fail miserably at some items, but succeeded with great gusto at most. Here was my list of 30 things to do while I was 30. (I did it a few years ago)

1 - Cut my hair (I know, I know seems strange, but it was half past a monkey's ass [mine] and Locks for Love needs 10 inches to donate...awe) - DONE! and I hate it. (Did it again, suckier than ever, but I will say...I did Donate again!)

2 - Drive a wicked cool car/truck/whatever - DONE. I had to rent it, but still, it was cool...for ME! Life's a journey, enjoy the ride. The best I did was driving a rental convertible from Miami to the Florida Key's. I ended up with sunburn on HALF my body, but hey, I was riding in style! (I think I still have sunburn scars...)

3 - Live in a cool place - DONE! Can't get any COOLER than Kotzebue! (Yeah, K-town, happens to be 20 below with a 10 mph wind, making it FORTY ONE BELOW ZERO! See, cool!)

4 - Sing Karaoke like I'm Lee Ann Rhimes! DONE - I was not exactly sober, but I thought I sounded GREAT. Record Deal anyone?! (Does singing on the Radio or at funerals count?)

5 - Have a threesome -Fail -Yeah, getting married and having a boyfriend kind of stumps that one, but hey, it was a fantasy list right?! Oh, and I have about six more weeks to go! (Hmm, no comment...I must have been in one of those moods!)

6 - Drive in Napa Valley and taste the wines - DONE! - very nice, managed to go to ONE winery, when the person I was with was her OWN whinery... she was more interested in the shopping outlets. (I'm adding this to my 33 list...)

7 - Go to a concert - fail - Sorry, haven't managed to do this yet. Ugh. (Wait, I take it back, I did too! Elton John with Koy Boy!)

8 - Dye my hair blond- Fail - Ugh, another failure. I tried to put low lights in it, but was a little allergic to the dye...so yeah, this probably won't happen. Thank God for my Au natural highlights courtesy of the sun every Arctic summer. (Oh well, I'll never be that buxom blond I've always wanted to be...)

9 - Ski to Sisualik - fail - although I've done this before, I haven't done it this YEAR. I still have a little while to do it. Thanks to my new dog harness and long lead, I think I can get Nugent to do most of the work for me! :) I just need to get Dean to go before me to warm up the house. Brrrr. (Nix on that one. Sheesh. I drive there every weekend with a sledload of kids and food!)

10 - Learn to fly - fail - I just can't get over that fear. I just can't trust an airplane. Not even my own. I can't even trust my husband when he's flying with me. Ugh. I'm going to have to work on this. (Nope...not done yet. Probably not gonna happen, sorry Honey)

11 - Make amends with an old friend/enemy- Done. Did it. Felt good. Going to heaven. (I'm still going to heaven. Actually I think in the midst of all these divorces and custody battles, I should go to heaven for not doing anything to the Exes!)

12 - Belong to a wine of the month club - Done - LOVE IT! Although when we find ones I like, its a bit tough to find them in any liquor store in Alaska! I'll enjoy them while I can. Oh, by the way, the UPS guy delivers them to me. He is required to ask, "are you sober?" because on the packaging it states, "Do NOT deliver to intoxicated person." HA. (I still love my wine clubs. But I think I belong to a WHINE club too. Psh)

13 - Go back to Finland - fail - I had really hoped that I could do this and a honeymoon all in one fell swoop. Since I didn't take ANY time off for a honeymoon, I didn't get back to Finland. But I visit frequently via internet! Kiitos! (Nope. No honeymoon still either. Maybe I could learn to fly in Napa Valley with my husband, knock three off in one setting!)

14 - Earn a lot of money, give some of it away - DONE - between my families disposition regarding budgeting and my weakness for puppy dog eyes, I have managed to make a comfortable amount of money and give lots of it away. (pat on the back) (Someone needs to give ME some money cause all that charity has left me dried out. My wallet yearns for some money!)

15 - Record my grandmother's oral stories - Partially done. - My Finnish grandmother gave me a family history book, so I have that. She did all the work for me. Kiitos Isoaitti! But I am yet to record my Aahna's history. One I believe is most important, because with the passing of our elders dies the rich Inupiaq history. Ok I'll shut up now. I'll do it next month! (Well, I have them in my head, does that count?)

16 - Go on a VACATION - FAIL!!! - Yes, I had to WRITE IT IN, and I still failed. I have to say that when I GOT MARRIED, I only took one day off. Ugh...so, again, I'll have to go on a vacation someday soon. :) (Uh, sorta. Dean and I managed to get to Hawaii for TWO days, and we took the kids to Ketchikan, but that was for a memorial, so I'd say, its PARTIAL!)

17 - Race a family dog team - Fail. - I am sorry to say that most of my plans are failures. Maybe I should have done a "top 10 things to do while I'm 30." OK...so my aunt and uncle race dogs all the time. Maybe someday when I have time, I'll go help them train them. My kids race every year. Maybe I could live vicariously though them? (How about if my dog raced the Dog catcher and won???)

18 - Learn to speak Inupiaq or Finnish (either one) - Fail...both. - I'm getting depressed at how miserably I'm failing. OK. So I have the Rosetta Stone for both languages. I can count and know some cuss words in Finnish. I understand a bit of Inupiaq and can pass the Rosetta Stone Language CD-ROM's without fail, but I still don't know the language. Sorry ancestors. (Man, I am such a failure. Holy Cow. Dangit!)

19 - Have my last baby - FAIL. - sad. that is me...sad. Oh well, I married the guy right!? (Hmm...My baby is having a baby, does that count? P.S. she's not my biological baby!)

20 - Buy a house - DONE! - Whew, I was beginning to think I had failed everything. I did buy a house! A nice one at that! (Yep, still got it, although its sort of a money pit! But its MY money pit!)

21 - Open a business - DONE! - YES...two for like twenty! Katak's Bed & Breakfast is located in Kotzebue if you're interested!!! (Still open. Still trying to open another one!)

22 - Buy something really expensive for myself - Fail?- Does a house count? I also got a ring...but didn't really buy that. Uh...how about a snowmachine...again, that wasn't for ME. Hmm...I guess my new stove and refrigerator wouldn't count either. I guess I failed this one. Maybe a coach purse IS a good idea! :) (Nope still haven't done that yet.)

23 - Get myself published in something other than the Arctic Sounder - Done - since I write for the Hunter. I also had stories picked up by the AP and they raced all over AK and the "lower 48" about uugruk hunting. Yay me. Shoot, even Koy was published when he wrote an article for the Sounder about Selling popcorn for Cub Scouts! (Still being published all over, whoop whoop.)

24 - Run/Walk/Bike/Hike/Row, etc for Charity. - Done - Thanks to the Miluk runners, a team mainly from Kotz participated in the Alaska Run for Women. We raised a bit of money for the cause. I'd actually really like to DEVELOP a run/walk/bike/row, etc for IFOPA. A baby here has FOP, so we could use that excuse to plan a party! Sounds like a great idea. It'll be on my list of "31 things to do when I'm 31!" (Yep, still doing this too, although I have a web-friend who does it all the time and raises like hundreds of thousands of dollars. She's my hero.)

25 - Hire someone to clean my house. - Fail. - I WISH. I pay a LOT if anyone knows of anyone! (Well, I didn't hire anyone, but magically, my house was clean when I was sick and helpless! Maybe I should be sick and helpless some more!)

26 - Get a painting professionally framed. - Fail - Geez my MOM beat me to this. my dad gets her cross stitching professionally framed for her. Man. Sad. (Does it count if its hanging at other people's houses?)

27 - Volunteer for a day somewhere needed - DONE - WHEW! That was hard. I was at Nikaitchuat for ONE day (Halloween) and it was TOUGH. I went home at 3 and promptly fell asleep from all the hard work I did. I don't know how the teachers do it. Thank God for them. (Still volunteering away! Still going to heaven!)

28 - Take college classes - Fail - WITH WHAT TIME?! I feel like I already know this crap anyway! haha... (Psh, again, I reiterate...with what time??!)

29 - Spend at least one month at camp. - Fail. - Dangit. I am going to have to take some time off this summer. (Every weekend winter and summer though, DOH, SO CLOSE!)

30 - REMEMBER Everyone's Birthday and send them a card - Fail. - Crap, once again, a failure. Sorry everyone. (I facebook them now, thank you Facebook!)

Thus ends my illustrious list. As you can see. I am quite a failure. Maybe that's why I stopped going to college. Oh well. I still love my job!

Monday, March 29, 2010

what do you do when it's forty below outside?

Well, most of you may not have ever experienced that sort of weather, but we do. Yes, even at the smack end of March, we do.

Granted, it was the wind chill, but still, forty below!?

I'll tell you what we do...pack up the kids in a sled and go to camp. Camp, your own personal defragger. Push the button and you're gone.

kids on sled

OK, lets talk about craziness here. The craziness that includes no running water...no water actually, either you pack it in, or you find some clean snow and melt it. For everything.

Craziness that includes no bathroom. Eeep! No bathroom?! Psh, yeah. Actually, I take that back, my dad built the camp house with its own potty room, complete with a five-gallon bucket with a toilet seat lid. But, NO FEAR, you stink-haters...we have those little enzyme packets that mix with your pee and it doesn't STANK! Boo-yeah.

Paper Puppets

Craziness that includes no heat. Psh, ain't no forty below gonna stop US natives! OK then, we have a wood stove that rocks my socks off, but no forced heat. You actually have to work for your heat.

And with two six year olds and an eight year old, craziness like no electricity....... (yeah I added an extra set of dot dot dot for some extra oomph, cause I'm crazy like that.) But, at night, Dean hooks up a generator and we do allow them to watch one movie so the adults can relax, Sauna, and drink a glass of wine. Ahhh, I've named that generator Angus, I love him so.

girls camp shirts

Anyway, we took the kids and a friend out to camp this weekend. Clara learned how to make Aglutaks, and she's pretty good at it. She also made a set for her doll as well as a pair of mittens for that doll. By the way, her doll's name is Agnes. Named after our friend Agnes.

clara aglugaks

The kids read, play games, complain about not playing a gameboy, Sauna'ed, made paper bag puppets, and made their very own t-shirts.



The adults, cooked, washed dishes, Sauna'ed, sewed, read, hauled water, emptied the honey bucket, read, kept the stove going, and....uh...had a glass of wine. Aaaahhhh.

girls puppets

Like I said, my very own defrag button.

What do you do at forty below? (OK, OK, how about forty above??!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Break 2010

We did a LOT of things for the kids spring break this year, namely, took time off!



Our spring break is only two days long, and they're called "NANA days" up here. Why is our spring break only two days long? Well, the district decided that because most of the student population in the region was absent around mid-May through the end of the school year, due to subsistence hunting, fishing, and 14 hour days, they decided to see where they could cut breaks throughout the year. Christmas Break and Spring Break were those breaks. So, now our break is 2 days and we get out of school May 8th. :)

Yes, I said MAY EIGHTH!



Whahoooo!



Anyway, with only two days, you have to make the most of your break.

Of course, we decided to go to camp. We punched in at least four days worth of activities in those two days.



I think because I'll be burnt out from a full weekend and a week of work, I'll just post one activity a day! First activity after warming the house up...shooting the AR-15.

Dean walked Kaisa, the 6 yr old through the steps, which are a little different than the .22 or the .17 mach-2. But, she quickly got the hang of it with him.



She loves shooting targets. Especially when she hits them! And for a six year old, she's a great shot.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Kids Awards Day

The kids at JNES had another awards day for the end of 3rd quarter on Tuesday. Kaisa received one award, but the day was clouded with some 6 year old manipulation.


Sky was VERY happy to receive an award!

Do any of you have a bright child? I mean, my daughter is very bright, but in addition to that, she's very quick witted. She's very, VERY quick. She sort of pretends to be shy and observes her surroundings and then, What? Whatever she wants is done and over with and you already gave it to her, long after you've realized that you were duped by a little girl. And worst of all, she KNOWS she's pulled the wool over your eyes and has a little smirk on her face. Is that bad?



I mean, we had to have a LONG talk about that Tuesday morning...AT school after she'd convinced the lunch room lady that she was sick and needed to go home, after her teacher told her she wasn't going home, and she was fine. And not only did her TEACHER say she was fine, Dean said she was fine before school. So, somehow, after a long time at Buckland, I arrived at 8:30 a.m. back to Kotzebue and went to work. Needless to say, she had the lunchlady call ME, because I wasn't keen to the situation and, of COURSE, I'll go pick up my sick baby.



Except that I stopped off at home first and spoke with Dean, then stopped at her classroom before the office. And I had a talk with a certain first grade teacher who told me all kinds of stuff about my child. One thing she said was..."She's maybe a little too smart for her own good."





Hmm...is that good or bad?!



Anyway, when I went to pick her up, she was smiling in the office ready to go home for the day, with me...her mom, who had been gone for 4 days, and would probably sleep on the couch all day while she got away with playing Wii instead of reading...on account of I'd be passed out on the couch, and she KNEW it.



Boy was she pissed when I told her to tell me what hurt, and how was she sick, and why did she tell the lunch lady that she was sick after her teacher had taken her temperature, looked in her throat and listened to her belly?




Smarty girls... straight A's...

Shoot, She was caught!


Kaisa's classmates....


and the cutest of them all!

Needless to say, she's on restriction, but that doesn't stop her from getting what she wants. One of the meetings we had about her, I was told that she'd go far in life, if she didn't piss too many people off first when they realized she had "got them."


Even if their mom says they're freshwater boys...


I think they're costal babies...all the way!

Hmm... Ah well. I'm just going to keep on telling myself that she is smart and I am doing fine as a parent, and she'll be fine as an adult!



Sigh.....Now, on ANOTHER NOTE...



I was much too busy last week with the Annual meeting preparation to post anything so many of you in internet land, didn't know that we had a HUGE basketball tournament here, 28 teams...and my son's middle school boys team won! Yay for the Kotzebue Middle School Huskies. Actually, both the Kotzebue girls AND boys won the middle school tournaments, so YAY! :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

5 day vacations...

Whew...

So, I just came back from Buckland yesterday morning. We worked and worked and worked some more.

We didn't really have an internet connection and actually, I think I was mourning the loss of the Blog rather than Facebook! Does that mean I'm growing up? I hope not. :)

In any case, my feet are completely numb from all that walking around in Mukluks, and my hands have sufficient blisters to showcase that I am actually fighting off another illness of an unknown cause. And you know what? It was completely worth it.

Buckland is a town that is FULL of wonderful people. They work extremely hard. They smile at every single opportunity. They make me laugh just by a look. I mean, seriously, it is just so happy and fun in Buckland! The kids are all wiggly, and cute. Especially the shy ones. Whom, of course, I love to tease. Their shy little smiles force their shoulders to shrug and open up. Maybe it helped that I handed out gum and prizes to them though!

For a while there, I sat in the middle of the gymnasium, closed my eyes and listened. All I heard, besides the meeting taking place was the sound of Inupairraq, Elders speaking Inupiaq. I giggled with them, teared when I heard one talk about how he wished his wife were here with him, and sighed when they said they wished more young people could understand them. So, I leaned over and smiled. "I Kaniqsi." (I understand.) To which, both of them blushed and smiled. They asked, "Everything?" So, I smiled slyly and said, "EVERYTHING!" haha. It was great.

The other thing about Buckland is that you would never know that the town doesn't have running water. Why? Because no one is complaining. They just go about their business, helping people, and smiling. They are completely appreciative that the town is getting water and sewer this summer (I'm pretty sure) and during one interview, an elder said, "The only thing I want to do before I die is flush my toilet."

Comments like that, completely humble you. Because in reality, she said she didn't really mind it, but she really wanted it for her grand kids. She said that she thought they deserved "flush toilets and water from a sink."

How many of you complained about your toilet being dirty, or your water tasting funny from the tap? Because again, reality strikes back, there ARE places in the United States of America, full towns, full cities that do NOT have running water, or sewer systems in place.

People get water by the 55 gallon bucket, make "dump runs" to empty their qugviks (honey buckets) and they know a thing or two about conserving.

Funny story about the word "Honey Bucket" too. Another comment was made by an elder who said, "I am so happy to get water and sewer, but I don't know who came up with the word 'HONEY bucket!' I never call my husband HONEY ever. Only when I'm mad at him!"

I didn't take a lot of photos, but the ones I did, I'll load soon. Right now, I'm resting my feet for my 5 day vacation. I just cut a bunch of skins I bought in Buckland for baby mukluks, kid mittens and Koy Gloves for our "Spring Break" trip to camp. (Our kids spring break is only a two day vacation, because they get out of school for the summer on May 8th. Yay!)

What'd you do for "Spring Break?" :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Belly Painting time...

Some of you may know...I love face painting. I usually do it for the Carnival's and the 4th of July Celebrations here in town. But rarely, and I mean RARELY, do I get to paint on a pregnant belly!



But this weekend, I did! And it was so fun, until the pregnant woman let one rip and I had tears streaming down my face. AHhaha....

There are lots of different things you can paint on bellies; pumpkins, basketballs, etc. But we went with the more traditional...baby with a placenta!!!

Step One: Paint a skin colored blob with some blueish background.



Step Two: Add a placenta and some white cloudy stuff in the amniotic sac.



Step Three: Outline with Black. (Black makes ALL the difference!)



Step Four: Add shadows.



Step Five: All done. And I call it, "A noodle on a belly!" By Maija



Very cool if I do say so myself! hahaha.

It completely helps if you have a willing belly to paint though. Thanks Elsa.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Help ME, help YOU!

Let's do this together!

One of the ladies I follow is hosting a giveaway on her NEW and improved website. Susan at SHE'S BECOMING DOUGHMESSTIC is giving away TWO kitchenaide stand mixers.

And hello? Don't you want to win?! I mean I do.

But I need YOUR help! You see...if you go HERE and comment on her site that "FINNSKIMO" sent you (or feel free to use my name if you know it) then I'll win ONE and YOU'LL win ONE!

And since I'm a great friend, I'll even let you choose which one you want.

The PINK ONE...



or the BLUE ONE!



Doesn't it just make you drool?! I mean, what can't you make with these?! ANYTHING. Cookies? Check. Bread? Check. Ground caribou? Check. Homemade Pasta? Check. Ice Cream? Check. Seriously.

Come on now...lets DO THIS!

The MORE times you leave comments that I SENT YOU, the more chances you'll have for both of us to win!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

DISTRICT CHAMPS!

Here's a quick note to let y'all know that Kaisa's 1st grade team won the District Battle of the Books competition last night. A very special THANK you to my sister Elsa and my friend Kookie for making their tie-dye t-shirts in less than six hours!



My six year old can READ, READ, READ! She loves reading. Like mother, like daughter! Although when she was interviewed after winning, she said, "Thanks mom for making me read all those books and always making us study when we got them wrong."

WHAT?



MAKING?! I didn't MAKE her. Did I?! haha. Oh well, she's six, that's my excuse.



Anyway, I rarely get nervous, and throughout the WHOLE competition, I was NERVOUS. I mean, lump in my stomach, ready to throw up nervous! Every time she got on the mic and said, "Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobdkina," I held my breath!



Yes, they had to remember and SAY ESPHYR SLOBDKINA.

Crazy.



Anyway, Here's to the 1st grade DISTRICT CHAMPS. The JNES Challengers!

Kaisa, Kelly Jr, and Kaitlyn. Whoop, Whoop!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Here kitty, kitty...

Does your husband come home randomly with presents for you? Mine does. But it's not the presents you're used to. No flowers. No purses. No jewelry. No lingerie. Nothing like that.

Me likey when the hubby brings me back some furs.



Ahhh... What shall I name her?



Hat? Mukluks? Maybe a Noodle Parky?!

Whatever it is, we'll just call her "mine."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Eskimo Baby Showers...

There are a LOT of games that people play for baby showers in "America," but up here in Eskimo Country, we play the same ones over and over, and they NEVER get old!


Seriously. Does she even LOOK eight and a half months pregnant?! UGH.


Cafeteria turned Baby Shower venue!

There's the "Berry Picking" one: where you blind fold a person, give them a berry bucket (bowl) and a spoon, scatter cotton balls on the floor and time them "berry picking" to see how well they'll do as a mom berry picking. Count the cotton balls and the winner is the person who has the most.


"I like this one!" as said by Amber!

And then we have the "This is how babies are made" game: Where you take two teams, give the first person a roll of toilet paper to stick between their legs, put them at the other side of the venue, and give the second person in the line a plunger, or a broomstick to stick between their legs. The second person runs down the hall with the broomstick/plunger between their legs and then without using their hands, sticks the broomstick into the toilet paper hole between player #1's legs and then they switch. The team who finishes first wins, and probably has LOTS of babies!





Of course, there's the "Which Poop is this?" game: Where you take about ten diapers, and crush 10 different kinds of chocolate candies into them, then microwave for 10-20 seconds, so it melts, and squish it around the diaper, number them and pass them around to see who will smell the diaper, taste the diaper and stick their finger in the diaper so they can figure out which candy it is. The person with the most wins.





And we can't forget the "Let's have a baby" game" Where again, you take two teams, two static-y full balloons, and two laundry baskets, preferably that have just had clean towels right out of the dryer in them. The players then stick the balloons between their legs and run down the hall and try to place the balloon in the basket without using their hands. (Much harder than you think, especially when the air is cold and dry!)


The spread.

And of course, there's Eskimo Bingo, but that's just played when we have lots of prizes left.

For Elsa's baby shower, my mom worked and worked and worked while all I did was decorate, think of games and frost. She baked the cookies, the cupcakes, the wings, the wrapped sausages, cut all the vegetables, and fruit, monitored the kids while they washed things, and mixed stuff. She worked from 6am until 2pm that day, then ran home, took a shower and went BACK to work and did the shower with us. She swept, mopped, put decorations up, washed a boat load of dishes and laughed until she almost peed.


And then she ran around playing games with us too! GO MOM!

She works so hard and the baby shower wouldn't have been such a great event if she didn't.

The two favorite games that we play are the plunger/tissue one and the balloon one. During one game, one of my cousins said, "We should have Harris's against the rest of the people!" But, when I counted, far more than half the people there were Harris's so it probably wouldn't have worked out in our guests favor!



More than four generations were in attendance, watching, laughing, eating, and remembering.


My grandmother, Katak, with her great-grandchildren, McKayla and David (Aulasruaq and Kuvlu)

Sigh...My baby is having a baby. Thanks everyone for your attendance, laughs and gifts. Noodle will be so happy to have them when she comes!


Elsa and the Noodle Bump.