Click for Kotzebue, Alaska Forecast

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


When I was growing up, I was forced to be responsible. Whether I liked it or not. I watched my sisters, I made dinner, I did my homework.

When I came home at 9:05, instead of 9:00, I was grounded for five days. One day per minute late. It was like that.

Now, as an adult, I still feel very responsible for everyone. I feel responsible to take care of my sisters finances if they need help. I feel responsible to make sure my Aana is comfortable. I feel responsible for a lot of things, that I probably shouldn't feel that way about.

I asked the simple question to my Facebook Friends: What does responsibility mean to you?

Serious responses came back. Witty responses. And the occasional smarty pants one was posted as well.

From the responses, you could tell who was a mother, and who felt responsible for making the lives of their children better. You could tell who was still in college, and who was single. You could almost peek into the lives of the responses and see what was going on.

From a woman who is fighting for custody of her children: "Taking care of my family and kids and making sure they have everything they need or want to do stuff with out even being asked or like paying my bills!! raise my kids in a safe environment.making sure there is food in the house.and making sure my kids are happy with everything they do." Deep man...deep.

From a pastor: "Taking charge of who you are, what you're doing, and why you are doing what ever it is you're doing..."

From a friend: "Taking Claim: Owning our own in whatever we do (with our actions) or who ever we have in our lives (family)."

From a fellow smart-ass: "Telling the baby daddy!" (is there something you're not telling us?!)

Dean recently asked Koy what responsibility meant to him after he forgot to clean his brand new 12 guage shotgun after an evening of duck hunting.

Koy said, "always cleaning your guns after you go hunting..."

If I had asked him that same question a few days ago, after finding old homework that hadn't been turned in, he would have said something to the effect of turning in your homework.

As for me...I really think responsibility is simply not to make excuses for doing or not doing something, and taking care of what you know needs to be taken done. This philosophy could work at home, at work, at church, at AA, at the store, etc.

Admit your mistakes. Move on.

Forgive, but don't forget. Move on.

Take everything in stride. Move on!

Get what I'm saying!?

I know lots of things need to happen at my house, I know how much I still need to sew for the winter, I know which bills could be paid off with the dividend's coming next week. A responsible person would take care of that. As for me...I think I smell a trip to Disneyland!? ;)

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Fab Life...

With constant snow and ice flowing on the lagoon you can feel one of two things. Happy. Or Sad. Me? I choose to be happy. As sad and looming as the darkness and cold will be, I need to remind myself that with winter comes a lot of other things.

TV. I haven't watched TV in so long! Grey's here I COME.

No more muddy floors! Sigh, I give up early in May to muddy floors and just accept the fact that my floors will be muddy until November.

Snow machines. Yay...I don't have to beg and plead for some lazy fool to bring me to camp anymore. I can jump on my 550 expedition and go MYSELF! Granted, I love it when Dean leaves with his fast crotch rocket an hour before us and warms up the house and Sauna, but if I WANTED to I could go myself. You know, cause in the summer, I am at the whim of an airplane pilot and a boat pilot. Neither of which I am.

School functions. My kids are involved in everything they can get their grubby little fingers on, so I am constantly at the school. Then to top it all off, I think I'm superwoman and I tend to VOLUNTEER to run things as well. I think so far, I've volunteered to run Drama Club, Ballet, Gymnastics and Elementary Cheerleading. Sigh...when will I EVER learn?!

Family Movie night. Once a week we get together and take turns picking a movie. When its real cold, like in January when it was minus forty for 18 days in a row, we watch movies every single night! Let's hope its not minus forty anymore!

Family Game Night. Once a week we get together and take turns picking a game. Kid's all time favorite? Eskimo bingo! My all time favorite? Are you smarter than a 5th grader DVD edition! Or Scene it Kids.

Easy caribou hunting on a snowgo. See previous post about Snow machines. We just roll up to them and shoot them in the head with a .223 when we run out of meat in the winter.

Wool socks and warm sweatshirts out of the dryer. I LOVE wearing long johns and hand knit wool socks with a sweatshirt right out of the dryer. The summertime doesn't allow for that to look too cool. So I'm happy for it now! My this-weeks' favorite? Brown wool socks with turquoise tops knitted by my aana. Man, I gotta learn to knit!

Skin Sewing. I love sewing. You have NO time in the summer to sew. Besides its sort of taboo to sew in the summertime. So, I just don't do it. I think when I was like twelve, my aana said not to, so I don't. That's my story. But, this year, I am going to make MYSELF a skin parky, and Kaisa' needs new winter mukluks, and Koy needs new wolf tops for his hard bottoms. Mine and Dean's can last another few years. I also need to make mittens for Koy, Kaisa and myself, and extend Kaisa's fur parky. Shoot, a week tops I say! haha.

Drinking hot tea/chocolate/coffee/tang next to the fire. Oh, yeah, first we need to get our fire place in and put it into the house...THEN we'll do that next to the fire. Until then...I'll settle for drinking it on the couch watching TV!

Spending time with family. It seems like the summer is so full of stuff to do and fast paced, that we don't get to spend a lot of time with family. I spent the entire day at my aana's on Sunday. We managed to talk while we made Cranberry Jam, Cranberry Kayusaaq (a sort of Eskimo Cranberry pudding that you dip your), doughnuts and bread. It was great to talk to her and visit.

There are many other things to look forward to. Luckily we have a plane, so we can travel when snowmachines and boats can't so we're pretty much set. But again...that's at the schedule of the pilot. Of which, he (hubby) has some pretty large decisions to make within the next few weeks. Good luck to him. I'll support him whatever he chooses. (Cause I'm good like that!)

OK winter...our meat and berries and fish are put away. The insulation is attached to Koy's bedroom, our water lines are fixed, the glycol has been bled but still needs to be changed, and our stove oil is full until November! Go ahead and come. I'm ready now.

Friday, September 25, 2009


OK, we entered everyone's names into a random generator and here's what we came up with for the winners. :) If you have an email or address on file, we'll be contacting you first thing Monday morning. (AK time!)

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO donated both monetarily and with items! We have just about $3,000 for the families! Awesome.

Deluxe handmade Knife By Siksu's Knives – Greg Louden
Atikluk – zippered – Laurie Parker

Atikluk – pullover womens – Eva Harvey
Birch Bark Basket - Jill Meyer
Mukluk Keychain handsewn – Denise Row
Mitten Keychain Handsewn – Kathleen Barker
2 jars of homemade Jams – B. Self
2 jars of homemade Jams – Greg Louden

2 jars of homemade Fireweed Jelly – Duncan Campbell
An Ivory Seal Necklace – Daisy Lambert
Three Fillets of Kenai Red Salmon – Karen Bendler
Three Packages Alaskan Halibut – Sally Loprinzi
Matted Photos - James Parente

Matted Photo – Deb Billingsley

Matted Photo – Gary & Elizabeth Alkire
Handmade (Beaded) Earrings - Valarie Brown

Handmade (Beaded) Earrings – Greg Louden

Handmade (Beaded) Earrings – Sally Loprinzi

Handmade (Beaded) Earrings – Ida Ballot

Handmade (Beaded) Earrings – B. Self

Walrus Ivory Earrings – Jill Meyer
Atikluk Apron – David Holthouse
Gift Certificate from Margie's Materials – Karen Bendler
Grass Handweaved Basket - Margaret Lawler
Swan Antler Carving – Jackalyn Riggs

Beaded necklace and earring set – Patty Frawley

Kitchen towel set – J.A. Siglin

Towel set – Denise Lachowsky

Towel set – Susan Sharbaugh

Towel set – Susan Severston

Crochet potholders – Rachel Lockwood

Crochet table doily – J.A. Siglin

Crochet table doily – Constance Steeples

Ivory Face Earrings – J. A. Siglin

Scarf – Sam Towarak

Scarf – Daisy Lambert

Scarf – Leslie Parrish

Scarf – Rodney Keeland

Baby Blanket – Lorraine Bartlett

2 salmon fillets – Chester Ballot

Seal skin slippers – Elizabeth Moses

Alaska Airlines Ticket – (OTZ-ANC) – Aggie Jack

On Bringing up a PERFECT teenager...

I know....I'm a great mom! Right?

I mean, how else could I have a perfect kid? He doesn't argue back, he does what he's told. He asks once. He doesn't question me.

Either I'm a perfect mom with a perfect kid, or else he's TERRIFIED of me.

For real. I think he's probably terrified of me. But, shoot I would be terrified of me too.

I have an evil eye that could MAKE. YOU. CRY!

Seriously. Momma'll take care of that. What babe? So-and-so is teasing you about being smart? Momma'll take care of that with her EVIL EYE!

Today my son is THIRTEEN years old.

My boy, born with a serious mullet and a conehead. He cried possibly three minutes and then he was content! See, perfect from birth.

He could walk at 9 momths, he could talk full sentences at 18 months. (IT WAS WEIRD I tell ya!) He could hold a conversation with an adult BEFORE he turned two. Sheesh. My perfect talker.

He also had sleep apnea and was hooked up to a machine from about 18 months until he turned three and he could have surgery. His surgery was supposed to be an hour, but lasted three. He woke up crying softly asking for momma. When I came up to him, he said to me in a perfect throaty voice, "Momma, they're trying to make me eat pudding. I want a cheeseburger."

We have A LOT of video from when he was growing up. My mom and dad's ONLY boy, and their FIRST grandchild, can you imagine how much video we have of him.

He was perfect. He never cried. He played quietly. He built age 12+ legos when he was three. He smiled a lot and was scared of puppies. He ran with the punches. My perfect toddler.

My baby. For a long time it was just my baby and me. He ate Top Ramen with me when we were broke. He walked with me to the sitter in the middle of winter when we didn't have a ride. He lived in low-income housing with me and slept with me on my childhood twin sized bed. My perfect sleeper.

He spoke Inupiaq and English, he Eskimo danced and watched Ren & Stimpy. He owned three guns before he was three. He knew exactly how to clean them and take care of them and shoot animals. My perfect Hunter.

He attended an Inupiaq Immersion school, then a Christian school, then skipped the 4th grade when he finally went to the Public School. He's still in AP classes. My perfect student.

He takes care of his sister and protects her and lets her crawl into bed with him. He feeds her breakfast and makes sure she did her homework and gives a great stink eye to kids who bother her on the playground. My perfect older brother.

When I flip a lid (because I've been known to do that) and yell at someone to "Clean the KITCHEN right now, I didn't work all day to come home to a dirty kitchen" and leave, I come home to see him washing dishes by hand. When he runs out of socks, he puts them in the washer and I frequently find all my socks and the other kids socks and Dean's socks washed and dried. My perfect cleaner.

When I come home from work, he asks quietly if he can play out/go hunting/go for a bike ride and I say yes, he gives me the sweetest smirky smile and says, "Thanks mom." My perfect son.

So, Happy birthday Koy. I know I'm not perfect, but so far in life, YOU ARE.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Better than crack...

So, late last night, I enjoyed some great company in the form of some beautiful Eskimo friends.

We laughed and laughed, ate homemade doughnuts with Maple frosting, Moose Jerky and drank Tilaqait, and simply enjoyed each other's company.


They told me I was so cute and innocent! WHAT?!


So, I am here to show you that I AM so in fact, addicted to something. I mean, its not Crack, or like Angel Dust or anything...or even Weed. Or whatever any of those other drugs are. (Come ON, I'm from NORTHERN ALASKA...and I led a VERY sheltered life!)

It's Facebook.

FB large

Gosh, I can't get enough! I'm on it at home all night when I'm there...I'm on it at work (and technically speaking, its a VERY great avenue for Shareholder Communications, so I am seriously justifying it, because that IS my job...shareholder communication, and where else do you think I get all these GREAT photos for!? Yeah...facebook!) I am thinking about what my cool snappy status will say all day long!

I have found family and friends I didn't even know I had! Its like Blogging on crack in real-time!

I just love me some facebook!

I mean I'm just enriching my relationships right?! I know, its SO bad to sit here all day and wait for Tia in Anchorage and Laura in Virginia to comment on my status so I can talk back to them! But I do it anyway. Cause it makes me happy. And I'm addicted.

Hello, my name is Maija. And I am a Facebook Addict. I need treatment.

BUT, I think this weekend me and the LADIES are going to run away to camp to hang out and de-technology ourselves. And use honey buckets. And make sourdough hotcakes. And haul water. And take a sauna. own sort of intervention!

And in Kotzebue, AK...the snow is STICKING. Ugh. Here we come winter. A PERFECT time to shell up and change my status seventeen times throughout the day! RIGHT?!

snow on grass

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Koy's Bou

I knew I lived in a world that cared. I don't really care to watch awful things on television. I don't like to watch people get hurt (like on that show "Scarred..." Can't watch it.)

Don't get me wrong, if something's funny, and NO one is hurt, I'll laugh. I might even blog about it. Especially if its Cathy! haha.


Anyway, I spent the weekend at camp with my grandmother. We talked and talked. She cried, I cried. She laughed, I laughed. We took a sauna. We picked berries. She made hotcakes and Tinguliks and Bible and Heart and Tongue and Moose Nose. We hung like the buds we are.

Dean went hunting, and met up with some of the coolest people on earth...Raymond and Agnes.

Raymond and Agnes

When Koy and I couldn't get across because of the large waves, Raymond came to get us. He drove the boat in the PITCH blackness across the sound, in the OCEAN, to camp. Pitch Black Seriously. I told my Aana and she said that Raymond's Dad was like that too. That his name, Raymond, Jr. is a well fitting name.

Deans Moose

They caught caribou and a huge moose. It was just a simply grand time. Perfect.

We came home with 2 caribou, 1 moose, 17 gallons of blackberries, and 9 1/2 gallons of Cranberries. I'd say it was a successful trip!

THEN, I came home and checked the mail yesterday to find twelve letters, addressed to "Kotzebue House Fires C/O Maija Lukin." In them? ONE THOUSAND dollars in checks and cash. A THOUSAND dollars for the people who lost their homes. THEN, I checked the Paypal account, and in it was $2,165. That's THREE THOUSAND dollars that YOU all have donated for these families.

Dean and Maija

I know three thousand dollars is not going to get their houses back, but THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Thank you all so much. No talk about high gas prices, no talk about how difficult life is. Just people helping people. Like all of humanity should.

P.S. In Kotzebue, AK, its SNOWING. :) Happy Winter people!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Typical day at camp...


Yesterday, I was unavoidably absent from my ever persistent FaceBook and Blog. Why? Cause I was resetting my internal technology laced body with some much needed TLC.

johnsons camp

And by TLC, I'm not talking about a BABY STORY marathon. I'm talking about being stuck at Sisualik. My other home.


Jon and Eric flew Nugent and I to Sisualik in our plane, Stubbs. Upon takeoff, Noodge, being the loving and maija-like dog he is, THREW up in the back seat, next to Eric. I laughed cause it sorta smelled like dirty cat food. And besides, I was too nervous to think of Dog Puke to focus on that.


Dean and Koy picked us up in my native charriot and brought me to the house.

house at camp

We immediately started on the two caribou Koy and Dean got because there was a black bear lurking in the depths of the tundra waiting for us to leave them out. After cutting the caribou by the light of the moon (and a few headlamps) we headed inside for some much needed unwinding...with books, looking out the picture window.

picture window

By the light of my 21st birthday present from my dad, I was able to read about three quarters of the book. I super duper enjoy reading by the light of lanterns and propane lights. Its just so comforting.

21st bday lantern

I also love watching the Fire Channel. It crackles and is offered in full surround sound. But better than that, you can actually FEEL the heat coming off it enveloping your wool sock laden feet.

fire channel

And pretty much just look out the window at your inisaqs to make sure no bears are eating your meat!


Sleeping at the camp house is blissful. The cool air coming from the ground up mixing with the heat above. You always, and I reiterate, ALWAYS have a good night's sleep at camp. Even Dean, my perpetual snorer, sleeps well, sans snoring!

Morning time at camp is the same as it has been since the original house was built in the late 60's. Sourdough pancakes, mushaq (cream of wheat or oatmeal), and camp coffee.


And why change something that's perfect?!

Kids spend their days lounging around, reading, getting into mischief, or hunting squirrels with a bat and a .22.

squirrel hunting

Dean cuts wood and both him and Koy chop it for Aana's house, Mom's house and the Sauna.

cut wood

chop wood

Me? I'm berry picking in the late fall. There's nothing better to do for four hours then pick berries with your Aana. Its a time I can reflect on life, think about things, and just plain relax. If bending over for hours at a time doesn't get to you that is! (I'm used to it, so I'm good!)

pick berries


Pretty much, days at camp seem lazy and serene, because of how relaxing it really is. Hauling water and chopping wood, putting 24 gallons of berries away (17 black and 7 cran), cutting and hanging meat, don't seem like chores.

It's all relative you know!?

Shells on the shelf

Here's to people's different views of camp. As for me, If you need me, I'll be back out there this weekend.

PS, I found this "pile" of stuff in the kids play corner of the house. If you look closely, you can see the following:

kid toys

Ring Bling
Broken Shells
Lego parts
.22 shell
Crab Shell
rock with a hole in it

This is what kids "play" with. Although I don't know why the .22 shell is there, other than that it was just there. Hmm...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The time has come...

A long long time ago I wrote a story about the "CAMO CLAN" invading Kotzebue with their gun cases and game bags and Cabelas poster child gear.

nice skies

The time has come again. Theyyyyy'rrrreee BAAAAAaaaAAAck.

Kotzebue is just a little, itty bitty town in northwest Alaska with two grocery stores (one large chain, one locally owned) no fast food chains, and bordering on the line of insanity, NOTHING to do! Oh...but I'm wrong.

run up hill

Apparently it's the wish and dream of many a men (and women) to come to Kotzebue to hunt the famed Western Arctic Caribou Herd. With the big bulls and the enormous numbers (400,000 last count) people flock from around the WORLD for their chance at a big bull.

I just researched (Googled) the WACH Hunting trips, both guided and transported, and HOLY CRAP DO YOU PEOPLE ACTUALLY PAY THAT MUCH TO COME UP HERE?!??!??? What is WRONG with you!? Seriously. And these guys are not EVEN FROM HERE. They're lazy fools living in New Mexico who rape and pillage the system to get you to come to Alaska to "experience the hunt." You're not even SUPPORTING the locals. No wonder people dislike when its Camo Clan Time.

swim away

Wouldn't it be much, MUCH better if you could hang with locals, stay at locals houses, use their boats/planes/4-wheelers, for a FRACTION of the price?! Last week, Dean's cousin came up and shot his first caribou. Literally got on the flight in the morning from Anchorage, left a few hours later, camped over night in the Arctic Oven shot a bou, and came back home, only to gut and cut and leave the next day!

run away

We are not monitored by state and federal officers, because I am an Alaska Native, from this region. We (and by we, I mean my husband, family and I AND WHOEVER we take out) can hunt on all the native owned lands. (Not the allotments, there are other rules, but I'm not getting into them) Sheesh. We have a guy visiting us, who brought groceries, game bags and is purchasing gas, so we can take him out, get him a caribou and get us some too.

You scratch our back, we'll scratch yours.

swimming swimming swimming

And QUIT SPENDING THAT MUCH MONEY ON a trip that WON'T guarantee you the Caribou you want. Sheesh.

I'll get off my high horse now. As my husband and friend relax at the cabin waiting for the herd to walk through.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I LOooOOOoOOOoOOve my people...

Technically I am half white (Finnish, but lets not discriminate, I'll claim EUROPEAN) and half Inupiaq (Eskimo), and my son is a little of this and that. My half, and a little Hispanic and a little African-American and a little more Inupiaq. And, my husband is a little Canadian and a little Russian. And my daughter is a little Korean (Asian) and a little Indian and a little Hawaiian, and more Inupiaq. My dad considers himself a "child of the world" as they lived in Finland, Iran, Turkey, Colorado, and Alaska, and I'm his child, so that makes ME a "child of the world," right?

So, really... that pretty much covers everyone right?! (Dang it...except Australians. I don't know how to include y'all, but I just think the way you talk is cool, so I'm TOTALLY claiming you!)

And now for some MORE prizes...
earrings ivory
Ivory Earrings, very cool.

I just love everyone!

Thank you for your humungous, Gigantic, EXCEPTIONAL amount of support! I was very mistaken when I said that I love living in my community, meaning the town and region that I am living in now. I was so, so wrong. I apologize.

Warm Scarves...winter is a-coming!

Why was I wrong?! Because (Thanks TOM) "the concept of "community" isn't geographical. I may live in New York but some of my neighbors live in Alaska and when a tragedy like this strikes we should all pull together. I only wish I could give more."

Baby blanket. Cotton and Fleece.

People from all walks of life have given.

I read (and CRIED, and CRIED) about a blogger who donated in the midst of her own tragedy. Losing her beloved husband only weeks prior, raising a 2 year old and a new baby on the way, living in a small rural village, and no one to take care of her. She took care of the funeral expenses, the traditional practices and everything, BUT SHE STILL GAVE to our friends, our neighbors, our townfolk.

earrings beaded
Beaded Earrings

I read about a lady who was diabled, who was feeling a bit sorry for herself, but after reading the post, "hobbled her way" to the post office to donate $100! HOBBLED. A DISABLED PERSON!

white atilkluk
White Zip-up Kuspuk (atikluk)

I am so humbled and grateful for everyone who has taken the time to read, forward and of course, GIVE to our own.

Here is the REAL Swan Antler. Very cool. I put my pen next to it, so you could see how grand it really is!

Tom, you were right. Community isn't geographical at all. We all live in this world together. Thank you for showing me that we always take care of our own.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Large proportions!

So, this contest...remember that!? Yesterday's post. It has grown.

I nurtured it and fed it and asked around town.


And by "grown" I mean exponentially! The prize list is over 20 items long and 90% of them are of the Eskimo variety. We have things like:

Seal Skin Slippers, women's size 9, men's size 7, but I'm sure we can trade if needed...


Birch Bark Baskets made by ladies from the Upper Kobuk, donated by the Borough...


A grass handweaved basket by Kathleen Westlake... (this is representative of what they look like, not the actual will look very similar to this one though!)


Tundra Berry Jams made and donated by Red Seeberger...


Matted Photos by Aqvaluk Photography, and my co-conspirator Cathy.

A handmade knife by Siksu's Knives (my hubby!)...


Mukluk and


Mitten Keychains...


and a Swan Antler Carving. (I know, I know, this is an eagle, but the carving hasn't come in yet, so this is representative of what it will look swan form!)


And several more, inlcuding a ROUND TRIP TICKET ON ALASKA AIRLINES...(which is only good from Kotzebue - Anchorage) Sorry folks who are outside Kotz...

And many of the prizes are being made as I type. John is busy making an ivory zipper pull and earrings, and beaders are busy beading barrettes and earrings, etc.

Cathy and I will take care of postage to and from Kotzebue to Anywhere in the United States. Due to the cost of sending something via post...its all we can handle!

So, now, there are several ways you can win:

First, visit your local Well Fargo Bank and donate, show me proof somehow and you'll be entered once for every $10 you donate...

Second, Mail me a check, payable to "Kotzebue House Fires" and email me or Cathy the amount. ( for me for Cathy)

Third, visit either Cathy or myself (in Kotzebue) at our work/home/camp(!) and give us a check or cash and we'll enter your name.

Fourth, go online and transfer from your Wells Fargo Account to ours...under the account name Rick Janitscheck, Savings Account #9790207832

Fifth, Hang out at the Post office (in Kotzebue) tomorrow and donate at the BAKE SALE. And while you're at yourself some taquaq for the weekend.

At the Post Office or by visiting us, you'll be able to write your name on the paper and put it in the bucket yourself. For the other two, you'll just have to trust us! :) Please DON'T forget to email either Cathy or I with the amount that you donate via paypal, or online, or your Wells Fargo branch. We WANT to give you these prizes!

OK, lots of donations are still coming in!

Lets keep them coming!