Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Alive and Well

Well. Maybe I spoke too soon when talking about being alive and well! But, I can attest that I am, in fact, Alive.

Being well is another issue all together! Bottom line. I'm back on my feet again. Remember THIS? Well, since that time, I have had a weak, cheap, ugly immune system. When I get sick, I get SICK. I end up in the hospital. I end up with an IV. I end up unable to walk. You know, things like that.

So I ended up sick. With Strep Throat. And it sucks. So the week before Christmas I spent a lovely weekend eating through my veins, and curled up in a ball.

Consequently, my daughter had a pre-op appointment in Anchorage a few days before Christmas, so our entire family rushed to Anchorage for Christmas. Which was OK because we were able to spend the holiday with the other kids in Palmer.

So...in short this is what happened in the past three weeks.

1. Sick with Strep.
2. Christmas in Palmer
3. Kaisa had surgery.
4. Recovering in Anchorage.
5. Sewing to pass the time.
6. Happy New Year in Anchorage.
7. Still here.

Anyway...I took my camera and have not snapped ONE PHOTO since being here. I don't know if it's cause I was sorta sick, or what. Anyway... I'll have a few tutorials coming up. (Cause I promised to do one and then...blah, didn't.)

So, we're alive and well. Thank you. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fritz

My daughter's BFF dog. Her Princess Beyonce (That's what she wanted to name her. We said no!)

We got Fritz when she was just a wee little Ewok from a guy (Guy, that's his name!) here in our town. We thought that Kaisa was old enough to be responsible for her, clean her messes, take her on walks, etc. And she was, usually. I've had to clean my share of messes, but in the end, Fritzy is a good dog.

Kaisa and Fritzy

She's the only dog that I've known who will watch Television constantly and try to jump in the screen! We moved our TV onto the wall because of that.

The other day, I shaved her (She's part Terrier, mostly Shitzu) and didn't really notice anything different, except that she did not want to play with Magnus, our beastly dog, who she LOVES tormenting. She just sat around all sad looking. I thought she was PMS'ing.

When the morning came (yesterday) my daughter screamed that her eye had popped out. Literally, her eye popped out of her head. So, I started calling around, Googling little dog's eyes popping out of their sockets, etc. We do not have a Veterinarian in town, the closest one is 600 air miles away, and you have to take a jet to get there. We do, however, have a "dog lady" who will check out your dog or cat for you for $20 and tell you to send her to Anchorage!

Fritzy

So, we did that. And thankfully I have awesome friends, so one friend took Fritzy as baggage (she even sat First Class!) and another friend picked her up and dropped her off at a Doggy ER in Anchorage.

And $950 later, Fritzy is up and at 'em, she is less one eye, but apparently it doesn't bother her cause she's having the time of her life, meeting new friends!

We are very happy she is still alive, and though we will now have a one-eyed dog, that's OK. Kaisa says that she can be a pirate next year for Halloween! :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The secret life...

Of me! Nah, it's no secret. If you're my Facebook Friend you already know that I'm a sucker for punishment so I string myself along most of the time on coffee, and good carby bread.

I realized that maybe I am just a teensy bit "busy" when I was asked to film something and I literally could NOT find a spot this week to do it. Which sucks, because it's sort of my job to film it! My email went a little like this:

purse
Atikluk Purse

"Oh hi. Let's see, my schedule is as follows: M-F 8 am - 5 pm I am at work. Monday night I teach sewing class at Church from 7:00 - 9:00, and I have to make dinner sometime between work and class... Tuesday and Thursday I have Zumba, so I can't do it those days. Wednesday is the School Christmas Program (I was wrong, it's Thursday) so I will be busy with that... Friday I open the church up for those who want to finish their sewing projects from the Monday before. (Last week I did that). Saturday morning I have Zumba at 9:00 am then I'm hosting a Christmas Bazaar at the Long Term Care Center until 5:30, I also have dress rehearsal for the Church Christmas Program from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Saturday, that hopefully my sister will take care of. And then Sunday morning is the kids Church Christmas Play that I am not going to miss..."

sausage
Homemade "Meat Sticks" smoked and baked.

And all this between making dinner (I made my own Garam Masala last night for Caribou Tikka Masala, and it was SOOOO GOOD!), and sewing the Christmas Presents I'm making for family this year, AND finishing all the random projects I'm doing for other people (mittens, hats, purses, bags) so THEY could give Christmas Presents to people... AND finishing all the stuff for my own table at the Bazaar.

sourdough spoons
"Sourdough Starter Spoons"

To top it all off, we have done NO decorating this year because we found out the baby (8 yr old) will be getting her Tonsils out December 27th, which means her Pre-Op appointment is December 22nd, and we have to travel to Anchorage for Christmas. So, today I booked the rest of the familys flights on Alaska Airlines for the customary 30,000 miles so we could spend Christmas together.

monkey fist
Monkey Fist - Keychains

I guess you could say I'm a little busy. Juuuuuuust a little.

Friday, December 9, 2011

She's BAAAAaaaaAAAACK!

Hi.

I'm not dead. Although I'm sure there are some mouse lovers who wish otherwise. Ah that's OK. I wish you well oh mouse lovers!

Long time no see ah!? (That's what we say up here. Don't you love it!)

It HAS been a while though. Oops. I know, I know, "blog etiquette" states that thou shall post daily, even if thou is in thine hospital...which I wasn't. Fooled you though huh!?

My husband was.

He's OK though. Yay. He'll be around for a bit longer, which is AWESOME. Totally.

I've been busy shoveling the 8 foot drift in front of my house, and busy in Anchorage working, hospitaling, drinking wine with my friend, visiting family, getting rained on, and getting stuck due to weather!

reciept

And shopping at JoAnn Fabrics! :)

It's been DUMPING snow on us left and right. Today at lunchtime I shoveled about 5 feet of snow that was over 7 feet high. Workouts!? Who needs workouts when you live HERE!

tough cookie

Anyway, tonight I'm teaching sewing at our Sewing Club, we usually meet Mondays but thanks to the storms we've had for the past couple of weeks, it's been postponed. SO tonight we will try to finish our Atikluk Aprons and figure out what everyone wants to do for the rest of the winter sewing season!

Have a GREAT WEEK! (And I'm back so I promise I'll post!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fancy Pants

Yesterday my family embarked on an epic journey. We seemingly left our little town of Kotzebue and entered into another world. A world with marble tables, and real cloth napkins. A world of elevators bringing you to your destination, water served in glass goblets and a kids menu with an Alaskan Crossword Puzzle to keep busy.

We waited a bit to be seated in nice comfortable chairs. A Real marble tabletop awaited one of my kids to break their glass on it. But thankfully, they didn't. I mentioned quietly, "oohhhhHHh fancy..." to which my (mini-me) daughter guffawed, "This isn't THAT FANCY, they ain't gonna serve you WINE!" Touche` girl, touche`!

As I sat down, the view from my seat astounded me. Dark Blue seas gave way to a bright orange sky. The sun in full view on the horizon. Because of where we were located, you could look straight at the sun and not be blinded. It's so cold though, that the sun, I guess, is just for looks and a few hours of brightness during the day. There is no heat to it. As a matter of fact, it's colder during the day than at night when the waxing crescent arrives.

View from seat

Caribou herds walked in front of us, taunting the inner hunter of my husband. Saying to him, "ha ha ha, you can't catch us..." He was beside himself in visible pain to be sitting 200 yards from them. Close enough for my 8 year old to take a shot. "We are EATING DINNER!" I calmly reminded him.

The menu was skimmed through and though the prices seemed high (to me), we went ahead and ordered whatever we wanted. A basket of rolls arrived at the table and my daughter exclaimed, "Man...real aanatuk!" (Ah-nah-took: means very sad, homely looking) while we all laughed. She's used to fresh rolls plucked out of the oven after a double rise, smelling of yeasty goodness. The taste was good though, so we enjoyed the rolls while we waited.

Our food arrived a bit later (and I apologize for not taking photos, next time!) and we all sort of gasped at how wonderful it looked. Eye Candy, for certain.

My meal consisted of a Country Fried Steak, perfectly buttered and smooth mashed potatoes. Just enough bacon and sausage gravy was spooned atop a hand dipped pan fried steak the size of my husbands hands. (And they are HUGE) Steak so tender you could cut it with a fork, even if you had wimpy arms! The marriage of butter mashed potatoes and the pan fried steak (not deep fried!) was enough to make my tastebuds do an Eskimo Dance of Quvaisunga (HAPPY DANCE) in my mouth. My perfectly steamed vegetables also were seasoned to perfection. Cauliflower still firm, yet soft, carrots glazed in pan drippings. Seriously folks, that Steak was so good, I hate to admit, but it was probably better than mine. And mine are made with Caribou and are REALLY REALLY GOOD!

My 8 year old decided she wanted "Pasta and Meatballs" for her meal. A choice of Fries, Fruit, or Veggies, yielded some Fresh Fruit on the side. When her meal came in a nice deep bowl, two of the largest meatballs I've ever seen were there for the taking. Corkscrew pasta was cooked al dente and bathing in a tomato based sauce perfectly seasoned for a child. Now, my children are not picky eaters by any means, (her favorite food? Tuna and Salmon Sashimi and Edamame) but this meal will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Especially if you tell them the meatballs are two HUGE eyeballs of a pasta monster that needs to be eaten up!

Kaisa exclaimed, "THIS IS AMAZING....I wanna work here. Too bad they have like laws and stuff that won't let me." All based on the fact that her meal was so good.

Dean went out on a limb and ordered the Creole Chicken with Italian Sausage and tomato sauce. I was surprised because he is SUCH a meat and potatoes kinda guy, I was thinking he would order what I did, or the New York Strip. But he didn't. And was very very pleased with his choice. It too came in an oversized hot bowl. Moist grilled spice rubbed chicken sat atop a bed of al dente pasta swimming in the sausage tomato sauce. Not too spicy for my wimpy taste buds, but spiced enough to satisfy my husbands. The Italian sausage was cut into coins and married well with the sauce. The serving was large enough to make Dean happy as he almost licked his bowl clean.

Halfway through the meal Kaisa said she had to use the restroom, so we ventured off to find it. Passing a Jade Counter, and several display cases showcasing local art we found it next to yet another elevator. When we walked in, the black and white tiled walls reminded me of Mukluk Trim made of Calfskin. While Kaisa did her business, she yelled, "MAN, These bathrooms are pretty nice and it's HARD TO IMPRESS ME with bathrooms...." To which I had no words to rebut! They were pretty nice though.

Koy ended up being safe and ordering Fish and Chips. They were battered well but the real showstopper was the tartar sauce, a creamy tangy dip served in a side bowl that made you want to stick your finger in it and slurp. Red Cabbage coleslaw also had a tangy bite served on the side. It's pretty hard to screw up fries, but to make them awesome is a gift. A gift Koy gladly accepted while eating the crunchy seasoned fries.

kids

(un)Fortunately, my kids heard the servers ask another patron if they were interested in dessert, so (begged) asked nicely if they could get something from the dessert menu. To which we obliged because, well, I wanted dessert too! An order of Berry Cobbler came for me steaming with a scoop of vanilla ice cream sitting perfectly on top. The peanut butter pie was decadent in it's cute little round servings, but the real star was the HUMONGOUS Chocolate Cake that the kids shared. Not even able to get through 1/3rd of it, the remainder sits in my fridge for the rest of the week while they whittle away at it. Dessert? Passed my test!

Even though they didn't serve me WINE, I was happy to drink my pepsi in an ADULT CUP. I was happy to put my cloth napkin on my lap and I was happy not to clean up. The servers were great, taking turns busing each others tables, checking on us often, and quietly sweeping up messes when needed. My hats off to the chef last night as well. The food was AMAZING, and you can't beat the view.

The check, if you're wondering, was $97.85, and I have to say for a FULL MEAL with dessert, it was WELL WORTH IT for my family and I to eat out at a place like that right here in our own hometown of Kotzebue, Alaska. I highly recommend checking it out at the Nullagvik Hotel Restaurant if you're in town.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

SONday

I love Sundays. Really. Anything that starts out at church singing as loudly as we can has to be great right!? Even the pile of laundry that waits on the couch can't bring me down.

I have plenty of things to look forward to this week. Plenty of things to be thankful for. I've been blessed beyond compare. Life is so good.

Tomorrow I start my Sewing Classes here in Kotzebue. (Spread the word) I don't really have a "plan" per say because I want to get a feel for what everyone wants to make first. We have so many options. Atikluks, Mukluks, Aprons, Purses, Mittens, Fur Hats, Fleece hats, etc. And options with skin sewing by hand, or sewing cloth with a sewing machine. We are going to learn to make patterns, and use those to share what we've made! I'm excited.

Sewing

Wednesday the twins come back up north for a 5 day visit with us and we CAN'T WAIT to see them. Our nephew Coltrane will also be here, and so all my mom's grandkids will be here!

There have been several caribou roaming around the town (yes, in town...walking around...hanging out with us folks!) My husband's cousin was petting the little ones while they ate on the side of the road. It's just like Finland! Anyway, they are super excited to go hunting when they get here. Maddie hasn't caught a caribou yet, so she'll have to give it away if she gets one. Max caught one last year so hopefully he gets one so we can eat! :)



And of course Thanksgiving is in a few days. We've begun the preparations, only as far as trying to clean up the house! Though this Thanksgiving will be different because we usually eat with our Aana Katak (and she's still in the nursing home in Anchorage), we will still try to get together in the evening so the kids can play Eskimo Bingo and we can visit. We have a large close-knit family, and we'd very much like to keep it that way.

We have a pretty extensive menu but so far we will have 8 or 9 extra people and maybe 15-20 extras for dessert. It helps to have two kitchens, and lots of cousins! :) Time to get baking.

Have a great Sunday.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lessons...Dean style

I have tried and tried and tried to get my husband to teach me how to make BBQ sauce. I have begged, pleaded and made bad deals, to no avail! He won't tell me.

So, how would YOU get back at your husband who wants to keep his BBQ goodness from the WORLD!? Duh, you sneak around with your long range lens and snap photos and BLOG about it!

So, here you go. Don't ask me how to make it, or ask him for that matter, cause he won't tell anyone. He's stingy. But that's OK cause he makes a case of this at least every month.

You see, we like BBQ sauce on things. Caribou, Ribs, Chicken Nuggets, Pulled Pork, etc. It's plenty good.

1-4 BBQ

1. Cut up at least one onion.
2. Brown the onion and I think it looks like some garlic.
3. I saw at least two cans of Beef Broth...
4. Parmesan cheese Spread?! OK whatever works.

5-8 BBQ

5. Some sort of McCormick Grinder. I couldn't see it very well. Dangit.
6. Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning, no wonder it has a kick.
7. Brown Sugar, nuff said.
8. Vinegar. Regular old white Vinegar.

9-12 BBQ

9. Looks good. I stole some and used it to marinate some chicken. Man that was tasty!
10. Pineapple Chunks?! I woulda NEVER GUESSED!
11. Lots of Ketchup. Whatever cheap Ketchup you have on hand. I saw at least three bottles.
12. Looks good now huh!?

13-16 BBQ

13. Honey, now that's goodness!
14. Tupperware version Chipotle Seasoning.
15. Hand Blender, I had no idea he knew how to use this thing. I guess he does!
16. Bottle that goodness up into canning jars.

DONE

Word up. Enjoy trying to decipher this. I think I'll just be happy he makes it. :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Better than Starbucks!

Especially when the closest Starbucks is, oh, 700 miles away. 700 air miles. Otherwise known as $720 in a round trip ticket. And as much as I love coffee, I'm not that rich, so we have to improvise.

I'll also be honest. I never ever EVER go to Starbucks unless they're serving the Pumpkin Spice Latte. (Shutup and get on the train, OK!?) Any other time I'm a Terra Bella girl. One hundred MILLION percent. Terra Bella. (Drive through off Benson and Little shop on Dimond in Anchorage!) Seriously, Terra Bella coffee will change your life.

It'll at least make you warm. :)

ANY-WHO, as we don't have a really great coffee shop here, and Mae is gone to visit family in my Coffee time of need, I figured I'd better make use of that Espresso Machine and just make my own.

Sigh.

Here's how I make my Pumpkin Spice Latte:

1-4

1. Place a spoonful of Pumpkin Puree in a cup. (We keep ours in a tupperware container in the fridge) (We also use disposable cups because this was for my son before school.)

2. Brew some good espresso.

3. Pour Espresso onto Pumpkin. Mix well.

4. Steam yourself some milk.

5-8

5. Pour milk into espresso/pumpkin mixture.

6. Pour 1-2 TBS Pumpkin Spice Syrup into your cup. (I make my own, stay tuned later this week when I show you how. Or you can buy it from Amazon too I just found out!)

7. Add Whipped Cream and a sprinkling of Pumpkin Pie Spice.

8. Give to your sleep deprived teenager so he can make it to school on time.

Pumpkin Bread

Step 9? OK, Step 9. Serve with Pumpkin Bread. (Maybe I'll share this recipe too. )

Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

1 minute of fame...

Sometime this afternoon I started getting texts and facebook messages about hearing me on ABC World News Tonight.

Huh!?

Oh yeah, yesterday a local news station called and interviewed me for a while about the storm of the century. I talked mostly about how we have been living through storms for thousands of years. My grandparents lived through them in sod houses, I remember hanging out in a canvas tent with a wooden frame one time at camp during a storm. As long as everyone stayed safe and prepared, we would all be OK.

Watch HERE .

I did mention we had a plane that had to be tied down, and our car was parked in front of it...

stubbs
This was taken during the "eye" of the storm. Looking great so far!

And our plane did survive. But other people's planes weren't so lucky.

not lucky

But the best part of the ENTIRE interview (I thought) was when I told the interviewer what my husbands facebook status said, "Dear God go ahead and take the House but PLEASE leave the plane alone!" HAhahahahahAHHAhah. Man, they didn't play that part!

Oh well. The good thing about being on National Nightly News for only a small part is that I still have 14 minutes of fame left in my life! Next time I hope they share humor with me!

Monday, November 7, 2011

UPDATE

Well, apparently I need to get more than one Dr. Pepper!

A statement released from NOAA today...

...SEVERE BERING SEA STORM EXPECTED TUESDAY NIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY...

A RAPIDLY DEVELOPING STORM LOCATED ABOUT 600 MILES SOUTHWEST
OF SHEMYA THIS AFTERNOON WILL INTENSIFY INTO ONE OF THE
MOST SEVERE BERING SEA STORMS ON RECORD AS IT MOVES NORTHWARD
ACROSS THE CHUKOTSK PENINSULA TUESDAY NIGHT. THIS STORM
HAS THE POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE WIDESPREAD DAMAGE.

THE STORM WILL PRODUCE WIDESPREAD WINDS OF 40 TO 55 MPH
WITH HIGHER GUSTS OVER THE WEST COAST TUESDAY NIGHT INTO
WEDNESDAY EVENING. STRONG WEST WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE
OVER ST LAWRENCE ISLAND WEDNESDAY NIGHT. GUSTS TO 70 MPH CAN BE
EXPECTED ALONG THE CHUKOTSK PENINSULA AND IN AREAS NEAR KOTZEBUE.
WINDS OF 60 TO 75 MPH ARE EXPECTED OVER ST LAWRENCE ISLAND AND
THE BERING STRAIT COAST. WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO APPROACH HURRICANE
FORCE OVER THE CHUKCHI SEA AND NORTHERN BERING SEA. THE STRONG
WINDS WILL GENERATE SEAS TO AS HIGH AS 20 FEET OVER THE CHUKCHI
SEA...AND TO 15 TO 25 FEET OVER THE NORTHERN BERING SEA.

THE STRONG WINDS WILL PUSH LARGE AMOUNTS OF WATER INTO NORTON
SOUND...RAISING SEA LEVELS TO AS HIGH AS 8 TO 9 FEET ABOVE NORMAL
TUESDAY NIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THE HIGH SEA LEVELS
COMBINED WITH HIGH WAVES WILL PRODUCE SEVERE BEACH EROSION AND
MAJOR COASTAL FLOODING ALONG THE NORTHERN AND EASTERN SHORES OF
NORTON SOUND AND ALONG THE BERING STRAIT COAST. HIGH WATER
LEVELS WILL PRODUCE COASTAL FLOODING ALONG THE SOUTHERN
SHORE OF NORTON SOUND. STRONG WINDS AND WAVE ACTION MAY PUSH
ICE IN NORTON BAY ON SHORE.

MODERATELY ELEVATED SEA LEVELS AND HIGH WAVES WILL CAUSE
SEVERE BEACH EROSION AND MAJOR COASTAL FLOODING ALONG THE
SOUTH AND WEST FACING COASTS OF ST LAWRENCE ISLAND TUESDAY
THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

ALONG THE CHUKCHI SEA COAST FROM CAPE KRUSENSTERN NORTHWEST...
SOUTHEAST WINDS GUSTING TO A HIGH AS 70 MPH WILL PRODUCE HIGH
WAVES AND SOME ELEVATION OF SEA LEVELS...RESULTING IN SEVERE
BEACH EROSION AND MAJOR COASTAL FLOODING. THE VILLAGE OF
KIVALINA WILL BE HIGHLY VULNERABLE TO DAMAGE CAUSED BY
BEACH EROSION AND COASTAL FLOODING.

THE STORM WILL ALSO PRODUCE SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL AND BLIZZARD
CONDITIONS OVER ALMOST ALL OF THE WEST COAST TUESDAY NIGHT
AND WEDNESDAY. SNOWFALL AMOUNTS OF AS MUCH AS 14 INCHES
ARE EXPECTED ALONG THE SOUTHERN SEWARD PENINSULA COAST AND
IN PARTS OF THE INTERIOR SEWARD PENINSULA.

AGAIN...THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING
STORM WHICH WILL BE ONE OF THE WORST ON RECORD OVER THE BERING
SEA AND THE WEST COAST.

Read more HERE.

Life Threatening??!?! I think it's time for a vacation. For real.

I went to the grocery store today at 5:00 p.m. to get a few "things" (Like Dr. Pepper!) and it was as if the entire town had congregated there. Hushed visits of the impending storm caused a stir throughout the entire store. People were picking up staples, like eggs, milk, potatoes and onions. I, too, had to pick up a few things. We have plenty of deer, caribou, chicken, and lots and lots of fish to eat. So I got enough food to subsidize those items in our freezers.

We are also filling our tubs and totes with fresh water (though there will be lots of snow outside!), and digging out the propane heaters, propane stoves, etc.

We are also praying that everyone stays safe, and all of our houses stay intact.

Storm Season!

I'm gong to the store tonight. I gotta get me a Dr. Pepper. Cause when it's stormy, I always ALWAYS seem to crave a dang Dr. Pepper!

Storm

According to the weather predictors we are in line to have a winter storm that has hurricane Force Winds, in addition to a Blizzard Warning. A 942 mb low is planning to hit the Bering Sea town of Nome has 65 knot winds and 15 foot seas. They're expecting power outages and will "probably" have to cancel school. We will get hit with the storm too, but we are a bit further north compared to Nome. Our storm warning runs from Tuesday through Thursday (maybe we won't go to work either eh!?) A 942 mb central pressure is the same as a Category 3 hurricane. This is all in addition to a temperature in the low 20's and 4-8 inches of snow and fog!

Dang. Everyone is comparing this to the "Storm of 1974", but the difference was that they had a bunch more ice coverage which basically means more shore protection. We have 60% less ice than in 1974, so it'll be interesting to see what it does this year. Anyway, I'm going to the store getting me some Dr. Pepper, maybe another gallon of milk and some pasta. Since our freezers are full of caribou, deer, shrimp and all that good stuff.

See you on the flip side!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Life is Tough

I remember being a kid and I would always say, "That's not fair..." My dad would tell me, "Life is tough."

I hated him for that. I mean, I really really hated when he said that. But now that I'm 34 years old, I know he was right. Life is tough.

I spent a good part of my twenties feeling sorry for myself and blaming everyone else for my problems. I left home at age 18, literally, the morning of my 18th birthday at 6:00 am, I left home and flew 5,328 miles on a one way ticket from Kotzebue to Orlando not exactly knowing what I was going to do, but knowing that MY LIFE wasn't gonna be "tough."

I got married, had a baby, didn't call my parents until I had my child. My mom hung up on me. Whatever, if she wanted to be a witch, then I didn't care.

Until I realized that I needed my mom. Because I was a new young mom. But it still wasn't my fault. Cause Life wasn't tough. For me.

Eventually I came back home. Not because I really wanted to, but because I had to. I was almost forced to go back home. So I spent a lot of time blaming everyone else that I had to come back to this God-Forsaken town above the Arctic Circle without even, GASP! a movie theater. Sucky. I lived in low income housing, and worked two jobs, eventually realizing I had to go back to school. So aside from being a divorced, single mother, who worked full time, I also took on 18 college credits at the local Community College.

And when I was burnt out, it was everyone else's fault but mine. Now, I have to add that I had a difficult childhood. I was torn between things. Right vs Wrong. Good vs Evil. Sure, I went to church on Christmas and Easter. I did my part and memorized my lines for the Christmas Program so the other C&E Christians could Ooohh, and Awe and my awesome acting skills as the Little Drummer Boy, Mary mother of Jesus, Ruth...

Other than that, we went to church to attend funerals. And that was it. I seriously did not think there could be a "God" because how could this so-called-God allow such horrible things to happen to me? But life wasn't tough. Not for me. It just was someone else's fault. Not mine.

When I was 26 I had my second child. A little girl. And three months after she was born, her dad left me for another person. Not that I blame him, per say...I mean when you're mad at the world, it's hard to live with someone else and not blame them for your problems. So, I did what I always did. Blamed the world. Blamed God. Blamed my parents. Blamed my friends. Blamed everyone but me.

When Kaisa was just a month old, her God parents came over and said to me quite frankly, "We are taking OUR GOD-DAUGHTER to church. Feel free to come with us. Or not." And they took my infant, breast-fed only, baby with them to church and left me to wallow in my sorrows at home. (They took my son too) They never pressured me to go to church with them, cause I was quick to argue that God couldn't exist, and I was proof of that. If there was a God, I wouldn't have had such a "hard life."

Eventually, Kaisa's Godmother called and said she was hungry, so I needed to come to church. Hemming and hawing, eventually I made my way over there to feed my starving baby. It was Mother's Day in 2003. After a moments of trying my hardest not to listen to the sermon, I opened up and heard the Word of God. And I cried. And cried. And cried some more.

Unsure of exactly what I was feeling, I went back. And went back again. It was like every single sermon that Pastor Phil was preaching was meant for me and only me. Give it to God. Trust in his Word. Pray. Pray. Pray. God doesn't give you anything you can't handle. Obviously, that was true because, 1. I was still alive. and 2. I was STILL ALIVE!

After several months of crying every Sunday, it was like the clouds lifted and I could see. I always knew I was "pretty good" at things. Sewing, Baking, Teaching, Crafting, Building, etc. And I just didn't know what to do with that. When I started living the word, and giving it to God, for real...it all made sense. Help people. Teach people. Spread the word in actions not words.

Everything I've gone though, though some very difficult to talk about. "Things" that included several visits to the witness stand to face people who did horrible things to me, and my family members, "things" that included police visits, several hospital visits, broken bones, broken spirits were all NOT in vain. Now, I can walk down the street, I understand what it's like to be in that position. I see women and children scared and I know what's going on. So, I walk up to them, I say, "Hi!" with my most smily face. And I talk to them about their day, their week, ask their kids about school. And tell them I am glad they are alive. Glad they are here to share this world with us!

If it wasn't for my daughter's God Parents, David and Tina Matthews, and the fact that God still loved me after all the toxic worlds I spoke of Him, I would still be a miserable bitter person, blaming everyone else for my life. I wouldn't be able to give my whole heart and 100% trust to my husband. I would still be a difficult, bitter person, and not such a good mother.

Life is tough. Really tough. But no matter what, there are three constant things that I try to remember.
1. God loves me. Even though I am a sinner. Even though sometimes I don't love myself.
2. You always have a choice. Always. You can choose to be ugly. You can choose to be happy.
3. Someone, probably somewhere close to you, has already faced what you're facing. And they are there to talk to you if you want.

You will always get knocked down. Always. There will always be difficult times in all of our lives. Since it's Sunday, and we are watching Football. It's not whether you'll get knocked down, it's whether you get back up...


I try and try to remember that I need to trust in the Lord for the plan He has for me and my family. Even if we don't understand it right away, He still has a plan. The toughest thing in my life right now is trusting that everything will be OK. I love the Lord. But even though I love the Lord, I still struggle with this every day. As a matter of fact, recently my husband was laid off, and we are still struggling to see what is in store for us. We are trusting in the Lord and hoping for the best. Because that's all we can do...

Remember...Life is Tough. It's what you choose to do with it that makes you the person everyone sees. Be a quarterback. Get back up. Smile. Help someone. God Bless you.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Red Riding Hood

My 8 year old wanted so badly to be Medusa this year. So I obliged. Purchasing some nasty green crushed velvet at a thrift store in Anchorage, in addition to the several snakes we would weave through her hair.

The costume came along very well in my head. She was excited to wear sponge curlers on Sunday night, and get up early Monday morning for school so we could expertly weave those plastic snakes through her curls.

Rea Piglet
I had to throw this in with the post. She was THE CUTEST PIGLET EVER!
Seriously...look at those hands...ready to cause a ruckus! (My niece Rea)

Little did she know though, that every little girl in our family has to be Little Red Riding Hood. I was LRRH, Saima was LRRH (my mom was the Grandmother, and we had a 6 foot Wile E. Coyote that stood in as the Wolf), Elsa was LRRH, and I think Clara was LRRH too.

My mom meticulously sewed each of us a costume each year. From Clowns, to Princesses, to Indians, to California Raisins (I was SO COOL!). Our Little Red Riding Hood dress was one from our Grandma, and the Hooded Cape (as I remember calling it) was made out of Red Corduroy. My mom didn't use patterns either, she just made whatever she could out of whatever scraps we had!

I desperately wanted her to continue the tradition and was happy she agreed. So, since we had a School Carnival on Friday, she thought she could just be LRRH for the carnival and be Medusa at school.

I sketched a simple dress I wanted to sew up. White button up shirt with a Peter Pan collar, Full skirt, tulle to give it volume, and a front chest overall section with Finnish inspired details, white pleated apron to go in front and of course a hooded red cloak.

Friday at lunchtime, I made the skirt and apron. (We had the shirt leftover from when Koy was a little boy, so I just cut the sleeves off, and curved the collar) Friday after work I made the Red Velvet Hooded Cloak.

She used the exact same basket we all used as children, and put her hair in braids.

Red Riding Kaisa

Thankfully she loved the outfit so much that she decided that maybe Little Red Riding Hood was the way to go at school too.

I'm glad our traditions run deep. Now if I could just get one of my kids to wear my California Raisin Costume I made in middle school.... :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Giggles (etc.)

Oh...are you looking for the Baboon story!?

Too bad. Cause apparently, "I must not know how it feels to get beaten up..."

So, it's saved for ONLY SUPER SPECIAL people, on a blocked site. Those who appreciate HUMOR when they read it. And who don't go all ape-shit crazy emailing me about how "Inappropriate a Post like that is." (Yeah, I threw that Ape in there again!) Tell you what...why don't you call my Mouse Lawyer, cause I'm still being tried in that court too!

AND Really!? That's what you got from the blog!? hahahaha ahha... Sigh... It was about a monkey. Or, sorry, Pre-Pre-Pre-Pre Human, if you want to be "politically correct!" (Since I apparently am NOT!)

And yes, you DID entertain me. What with all the Leaves and Baboon Sex going on. Thanks for that. I appreciate it.

Oh, and the shopping too. Yeah, that's awesome as well. But not as awesome as the Zoo.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Costumes and stuff

OK, now that I dug out Bernice, my sewing machine (old faithful) I'm in the sewing mood.

(*Yes, my sewing machines have names. Bernice is my old faithful. Tiffany is my new pretty high tech one. Irma is my Serger. And I think Kaisa named hers Ashley...or Beyonce, I can't remember...anyway it really helps when you sew something on backwards. "DAMMIT BERNICE!!! WHY'D YOU DO THAT!?" haha)

Luckily for my daughter, I can sew whatever I feel like without a pattern. So, I have been busy sewing away.

sewing

Tonight is the Halloween Carnival and even though my girl decided she wanted to be MEDUSA for her SCHOOL Halloween party, she decided that she would like to be Red Riding Hood for the Carnival.

Of course, I said yes.

So, aside from making my sister Elsa's costume, and my niece Clara's pants for her costume, I'm also busy whipping up a cute little Scandinavian Dress (I have to put in the Finn somewhere right!) and Red Velvet hooded cape before tonight's very expensive, pretty lame carnival!

Oh, and we made my other sister some facial hair last night too.

Beardical

I like hers the best so far!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

WHY? Why, why, WHY!?

OK. I just can't get over a post I read. And I'm sorry all you "Go Green" types but this is one GREEN item I will NOT be participating in.

Handsewn Tampons and Sanitary Pads.

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Who wants to bleed all over these poor cute little MONKEYS!?

WHAT!? Seriously. I had NO IDEA people did this. I mean, I know the 7 BILLIONTH person will be born this year on earth, and the underdeveloped countries still face some horrible living conditions, lack of vaccinations, etc. And for someone who will benefit with these items, then GREAT, go for it. Make you some Pads, with wings.

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Well, I actually think these are kinda pretty...

But, why would you choose to sit in your own BLOOD?! Really. It's not like we have a CHOICE in the matter, aside from a hysterectomy, to BLEED each month. Why make it worse by sitting in a puddle of it, just to GO GREEN!?

OK. Don't get me wrong. I'm all about saving the world from trash and landfills. We TRY to save as much as we can. We recycle what we can (including cans, just look in the totes in the garage filled with my husbands empty Beer cans.) and reuse what we can. But I'm sorry.

I'm NOT going to be using a reusable PAD. or Tampon (ick.) anytime soon.

yuk
You guys think if I learn to crochet, that I can make these!?

If I have to bleed my own blood, NO ONE is gonna know. NO ONE will be the recipient of a bulky handmade fleece PAD sticking out my crack. NO one.

AND I'm sorry but I'm not sticking a sponge up my who-ha, no MATTER how much it saves the earth. SORRY KIDS, this momma is gonna continue using Tampax or OB!

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"Moon Songes are extremely comfortable, soft, and textured much like the vaginal wall, you can even trim them to fit your unique form, so you won't even notice they are there! Sponges are naturally very absorbent, and can also be used during sex. Some women choose to use them for contraception with a spermicide of their choice.

Moon Sponges are very absorbant (they are sponges after all!!) and they only need to be rinsed and reinserted about every 2 to 4 hours (depending on the heaviness of your cycle)"


It's bad enough that it happens to women, why make it worse!?

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LOOK! Different sizes even!

OK, I also understand that a long time ago, they didn't have access to disposable anything. I am a glorified cloth diaper advocate. (All of use girls used cloth, our kids used cloth when they were home, and I made a couple clothies for my niece when she visits) I breastfed my kids until they are old enough for SCHOOL (not really, but really!), and I come from a very "granola" family. I also know that a long time ago, when an Eskimo woman was on her cycle, she was BANNED FROM THE HOUSE, and could not show her wrists for fear that some bad ju-ju spirit would get her or her family. They used MOSS, LICHEN, and other absorbent materials. (Like apparently SPONGES!)

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BUT THAT WAS 50 YEARS AGO! It's the 2,000's folks! Get you some Always with wings, or Tampax Combination packs and get on with your day!

OK. That's all for now. P.S. I took all these photos off of Etsy. Good for you if you reduce, reuse, recycle...but I'm not jumping on that train just yet.

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Look, even designer fabric. Gee, I just figured out a use for all those Fat Quarters I have sitting around!!!

(You know what's funny though, I totally COULD MAKE the Pads! I have all the materials, and the know-how to do it. AND because I CAN make them, I am seriously starting to contemplate actually TRYING them. Cause we all know I'd love to NEVER EVER buy another pad again. Hmm.... We'll see...We will SEE.... Sigh...I'd have the cutest little pads ever!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Warming up.

Warming up in the Northwest tip of the United States is tricky sometimes. And I'm not talking about Halloween Tricky. Yesterday we had our first itty bitty storm, and it piled a whole 1 foot of snow in front of our garage and on our new deck.

The cars wheezed through the day, trying not to freeze and this momma had to dig around for the telltale extension cord coming out of every car in town, like a little umbilicus, marking the beginning of winter. Come to think of it, it is sort of like an umbilical cord for our vehicles. It provides energy to the Block Heater and the Oil Pan Heater so when it's 40 degrees below zero our cars will still turn over and start. My umbilical cord is blue. And it lights up at the end. Fun.

The weather right now is prime for playing out without snowpants, or a face mask. It's pure winter, at it's finest. Apparently Mother Nature doesn't know this and she will continue to force feed us cold weather until May, when it warms up again.

Luckily for us though, the sun is still trying it's damnedest to provide a source of heat. I can almost feel it at around 3:00 p.m. Pretty quickly, the sun will just be a tease to us Eskimo's and we will go to work while it's dark, pick up the kids afterschool while it's dark and enjoy our evenings while it's dark. And eventually in late December, when Christmas is in full bloom, our days will increase by 1 minute, then by 2 minutes, then by 3, and our wonderful warm sun will return to us from his migration south for the winter, and all will be glorified again.

Until then though, we know how to warm up. Whether it's with sealskin slippers, or wolf mittens, or homemade hot chocolate, or something warm and Bready. We know how to warm up.

Especially when there's Banana Bread involved. Cause you can never have too much Banana Bread!

Banana Bread

WARM-YOU-UP-BANANA Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl mix together:
3 eggs
1 3/4 C Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 C Oil
1 stick Butter (melted)
3/4 C milk
1 TBS Lemon Juice
3 Mashed Bananas (about 1 1/2 C)

In another bowl, sift together:
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
3 C Flour

Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients. It'll be a little soupy, but trust me, it works. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Sprinkle with about 1 tsp raw sugar on top. Bake for about an hour.

Enjoy with some coffee, or hot chocolate. Warm up. :)


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kotzebue Krud

Fall time in the Arctic is absolutely beautiful. Berries, Caribou, Fall colors bursting about. Our Fall doesn't last long though. We quickly go from bring green mosquito infested rivers, to bright gold and orange cool Autumn days, and freezing nights, to snow on the ground, and everything brown underneath.

I think God made it gorgeous here because it is so short that you really have to stop what you're doing to witness it.

When Winter rolls around, so does the "Kotzebue Krud." A cold-like virus that will give mucinex commercials a run for their money. Your bones ache, you feel like you have strep-throat, and a headache that won't go away. People cough and cough and cough some more. And it lasts for MONTHS.

So, seeing as though I feel like I've been hit by a Mack Truck, I pulled out the trusty teapot and went to work.

teapot

Lemon Ginger Tea, with honey.

It gives you the warmth you want and need, while coating your sore throat in tasty goodness. I literally drink this for three months. Every day, all day long. As a matter of fact, when I travel, I take honey in travel containers (under 3oz, like what you'd use for shampoo!) and cut up lemon with pureed ginger so I can ask the flight attendants to just give me some hot water!

I don't use a recipe, really, but I'll try to recreate on for you, in case you've been hit with the Kotzebue Krud!

lemon ginger

Lemon Ginger Tea with Honey.

For 3-4 cups worth
  • Juice one half of a lemon into a teapot, with a strainer.
  • Cut one knob of ginger off, and grate it into the teapot.
  • Pour 4 cups boiling water over the lemon and ginger.
  • Let steep for a few minutes.
  • Strain into your cup.
  • Add 1 tsp Honey and mix well.
  • Sip until your throat feels better.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Aana

My aana. A fun gal. She's decided that she can say whatever she wants to you. I guess if you've lived through what she's lived through you're entitled. She frequently says to us, "did you get fat?" "Howcome you cut your hair?" "Don't be bossy." haha.

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She has told many stories to whoever will listen. I try to record her as much as I can now that we have video functions on our phones, just so I can continue to feel close to her while she's away.

Away in a nursing home. 600 air miles separate her from home.

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She's doing OK considering the circumstances. Doctors told us to come visit, and our entire family came in swarms. My sisters and I, my cousins, her children, her sisters, and friends.

She lives in a little house on front street, usually. And when it's time for birthdays, anniversaries or Christmas, we all squish into that little house with adults on the chairs, kids on the floor. (And even though I'm 34, I'm still "a kid.") and babies wandering around eating like little birds from everyones plates.

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Her room at the Nursing Home feels like that. When I first arrived, my mom was on the floor doing a crossword puzzle, her oldest brother sitting on a chair reading. My aana was eating dinner and my cousin and her two kids were on the floor and on the wheelchair. Just like being at her regular house. Only the constant beep of monitors and nurses coming in and out sort of ruined my fantasy.

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We all want her to come home. We all know she should be here. We all have been sharing stories. We all are hopeful.

My aunt Fannie and her family live in Anchorage, so they are able to visit the most often. They hang out, watch TV, play cards, share stories, etc. Those of us who live in Kotzebue come as often as we can. Work trips are scheduled around her Dialysis, Vacations are taken with an extra few days in Anchorage so we can visit. PFD tickets are bought so we can visit.

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This was the first summer at camp without her. It was hard. Really, really hard. As a matter of fact, for the first time in a long time, I spent only ONE night at camp this summer. One night. After years of spending every Friday-Sunday there, picking berries, visiting aana, eating hotcakes. It was hard. Really, really hard.

I'm going to see her Saturday night when I go to Anchorage once again. I hope to bring her good news about camp, some strained berries, and maybe listen to some more stories.

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My aana.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Flowers

Traditionally, the 4th Anniversary is that of a bunch of flowers.

FLOWERS? That's kinda cheap don't you think!? I mean, I don't even like flowers! haha.

I think it should be fur. Every year should be fur. This year Dean is going to get himself a nice pair of tall sealskin mukluks that fit over his calves so they don't slide down.

Flowers. PSH. Eskimo's don't give flowers.

Us

Happy Anniversary Dean. I love you.

2nd Anniversary

3rd Anniversary

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why I love my Husband.

He texts me all day long.

Seriously, his ginormous thumbs don't even detract from his texts. He texts me ALL. DAY. LONG!

And all night long too.

Saturday night, I got a text from him around 1:30 in the morning. I can't even find it to just copy and paste either. Dang.

Dean: Hi Babe!

Maija: Hi.

Dean: I have Crabs.

Maija: Oh. From who.

Dean: BIIIIG ONES!

Maija: Nice.

Dean: They are in the bathtub in the kids bathroom.

Maija: From WHO?

Dean: Staheli.


Crabs

Yup...I love my husband. Even though he has Crabs. Big ones.

Crabs in the tub

On another note. My daughters dumb little dog, Fritz, always sneaks in the bathroom and tries to drink toilet water even though they have a water bowl in the living room. Anyway, she saw water in the tub and jumped right in. She screamed like a person and hightailed it out of there. She hasn't been in the bathroom since. :)

On ANOTHER note! I lost the Election yesterday by about 300 votes. :( Oh well. I'm glad people understand the need for change, but people are afraid of it. So, I'll just keep doing what I do and truly putting "Kids First." Thanks for the support though, it was overwhelmingly positive!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Making Differences

Tomorrow is the "BIG DAY" up here in the Northwest. The big day for constituents to decide who will represent them in the Regional School Board, The City Council, the Northwest Arctic Borough Assembly.

All three equally important. All three with a large level of investment for those voted in. Which is why it is important for all of us to vote for a person who has shown, by actions, not by empty words and promises, that by voting for them the best interest of the entire population will be considered.

This year for the School Board, we have two distinct "groups" running together, in hopes to stay in office, or start office. The two groups are different in that one is a group of young women in their 30's who are PASSIONATE and EDUCATED about their children's education and well being. And one is a group of incumbents who are running on the EXPERIENCE pitch.

Board

The young women want to make a positive change in the district. A Positive Change toward our own curriculum, following the Subsistence Lifestyle 95% of the population follows. They want our Inupiaq Culture integrated into the schools. (More than it already is.) They want the District to stop spending so much on operational costs, and spend more on EDUCATION. They want to teach our children to "go green" to save money on heating and energy costs. They have stake in our schools because every single one has children who attend school, or will when they are old enough to. They are open to communication and feedback from the region.

Of course, experience plays a key role in any "candidacy" but no matter how smart you are, how much you know about a subject, or how much time someone spends researching percentages, the true end goal is oftentimes met thanks to Passion. Passion performs miracles, and in our School District, with a graduation rate of 55%, a reading proficiency rate of 44%, a writing proficiency of 39%, a math proficiency of 33% and a science proficiency of 16%, we NEED that Miracle.

Change

When you have to choose between Experience and Passion, don't hesitate for a moment. Passion gives you a sense of meaning and success. To achieve anything, you need a passion that is much more powerful that all your fears. Unfortunately, talent and passion are sometimes overlooked, especially up here, where everyone plays the experience card. They seem to forget something very important though...we have the same amount of experience as they do, we have just been doing it for free all these years. We haven't been paid board members, just community support lending our expertise out where it's needed. So, we all have Experience, don't forget that.

Maija poster

It is time for a POSITIVE CHANGE. A change that our District needs. We need to think differently to make a positive impact for our children.

I hope that all of you in the Northwest Arctic Borough will go out and join me to VOTE tomorrow, above all else. Above the Politics, the Posters, the Promises. VOTE and make a difference. VOTE and let your voice be heard.

And if you agree with me and are willing, I ask you to join me in voting for:

Igluguq Dianne Okleasik for Seat "G"
Igluguq

Angela Washington for Seat "H"
Angie

Maija Katak Lukin for Seat "J" (hey that's me!) and
Maija


Nicole Stoops for Seat "K"
Nikki



PASSION. COMMUNITY. FAMILY. EDUCATION.