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Friday, April 30, 2010

Community Craziness

It comes in the form of all things. The sun for one.

When the sun comes back from its hiding place at the other side of the earth, us Eskimo's try to cram in as much time outside to make up for all that SAD that we have in the months of December, January and February when the weather makes us all depressed, and fat.

So, springtime brings the sun, the shiifish, and the pounds shed off. It also brings craziness like the END OF SCHOOL. Our kids get out of school on MAY 7th. Seriously. (Ok, you can pout now!)

me the big cheez

The school district recognized that a high percentage of students weren't attending school during the month of May (spring hunting season, and getting ready for summer hunting) so they did what they could to condense the school year (like removing three days of spring break) so that we could get out early. Yay, sort of.


The school system here is flawed though, don't get me wrong. Just this past week the following has happened: Academic Awards Banquet, Middle School Basketball Banquet, High School Graduation, Kindergarten Graduation, 8th Grade Promotion, and, the best of all...the Spring Carnival, where you can go spend twenty bucks on a single layer cake frosted in the tin pan it was made in! (Don't knock it, cause I made 18 of them!) And, probably catch Strep Throat cause its going around and you KNOW people aren't gonna stay home from the spring carnival!


I mean, where else could you get semi-permanent neon hair extensions for almost twenty bucks? Inflation, man...inflation!

So, hopefully the powers that be who read this will realize that when you're a parent of more than one child, in more than one sport/academic/activity/has-a-booth-at-the-carnival, that maybe, just maybe they should stretch out the days between the banquets and graduations and promotions.


IN closing, if you lived here, in three weeks time you could do the following: Catch 100 shiifish, go to the middle school basketball banquet to hear how great your kid is, go to the lions club basketball to hear how wild your kid is, go fishing and catch nothing but sunburn, watch the sun rise at 4:30 a.m., cut up 100 shiifish, go to BOTH academic banquets (middle school and elementary), go to the Kindergarten Graduation (GO GAGE and Quintin!), the 8th Grade Promotion (GO Koy and Toby!), the High School Graduation (GO Shy and Denali!), go to Junior Achievement, introduce a baby Noodle to her great-grandmother, listen to elders speak Inupiaq for three days straight, get some pink hair extensions, get a McDonald's cheeseburger for five bucks (we don't have McDonald's here), win a cake that you made with your 1$ tickets after playing seventeen times, slip on the ice, cause it melts during the day and freezes at night, eat a fresh goose for dinner, listen to the flies come alive once again, get your fingers looked at by a professional army-man, pull out a tooth, learn that Martha Stewart is a thief, get eight boxes of groceries in the mail, make a bunch of sourdough to give away and...have a few birthday parties!


Man...I LOVE the end of April! The end.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Patience is a virtue...

And it really is NOT attributed to many people. Me, for instance. I'm not too patient. If I want something done, it better be done now and right. Just ask my family.

I had to learn from someone though, so I think I'll blame my parents for this one! :)

david and helen

Patience is not something you usually think of when you're talking about kids either, but let me tell you a story about a wired little boy, who blew our minds on my birthday fishing trip...

dean ifhsh

Gage. He is six years old. A Boy's Boy, hunter, snowmachiner, bike rider, getter-into-trouble'er. He's is very much a typical boy who has an older sister about a year older than him, and sort of wants to jump out of that shadow. (That's my freshman psych diagnosis, I'm accepting appointments now!)

Anyway, Gage, hoooly cow. Patience is not exactly the first word that comes to mind when we think of Gage. Maybe, "hyper" or uh, "wild?!" But, when he is interested in something, ANYTHING, he is 100% attuned to that ONE THING.


So, we went fishing on Sunday, for my Annual "Birthday fishing trip." I told my family and friends, and we had probably 20 or so people out there after fishing all day. The kids had a tent set up so they could play (mess it up) and stay out of the wind. And play they did. Clara was the only kid who decided to actually FISH. So, so stuck with her hole and caught two average, nice sized shii-fish. The other kids would fish for five or ten minutes, and then quit, and go run around in the fish guts and heads that were left over from the night before.

gage sitting

Gage, though, he started hooking (yeah, that's what it's called) about a half hour after we got there, and had a HUGE fish within about fifteen minutes. Right at the top of the ice, he LOST it. We figured he'd get cold, like the other kids and run around, but NOPE. He was HOOKED (no pun intended!). He stayed at that SAME hole for TWO hours. And I'm talking about a 10" hole in 5 feet of ice, with NO chair, No bucket to sit on, and NO bites. Two hours. I mean, I can't even sit there for two hours!

gage bring to cathy

Anyway, he wasn't catching anything, so I wanted him to pull up a fish. I called over to him after I had hooked one, and set the hook pretty good so he could pull it up. He came over, pulled it up and would not leave his fish. He wanted to cut it himself, and drag it everywhere he went. Which wouldn't be too bad except Gage is about 50 lbs and the fish are about 30 lbs!

cathy cutting

Cathy eventually came over and filleted it for him on our table, so he was happy. He ran around a bit more and then asked, "Where's Em?" (His sister) I told him that they had left about an hour ago in the Snow-Coach with ALL the other kids. He sort of nodded his head and said, "oh, OK."

carrying fish

I figured it was time to start getting ready to bring him home, since it was Sunday and he had school the next day, he was the only kid out there with a bunch of die-hard fishers who had caught about ten or so fish altogether. So I asked him if he wanted to go home. "No..."

At about 7 o'clock in the evening, I was tired, my throat was hurting, and I had a sick sunburn on my face, so I told him, we were getting ready and going home. (It takes us about an hour to get home on the ice) But, 7 o'clock is when the fish come'a biting...and BITE they did.

zach and gage

Gage caught and caught and caught, he was so excited that finally at 8:30 p.m. I told him we HAD to go. He was giddy and excited and laughing, running around whacking the heads so the hooks could get pulled out. I loaded up his fish on the back of the 4-wheeler, and while I was putting the required outdoor gear on, he was pulling in MORE fish.

koys fishes

He said to me right before we left, "Maija I don't want YOUR fish, you can have it back, cause I got FIVE to give to my mom!" And promptly fell asleep driving back to town.

When Gage and I left, he had caught five, I caught about fifteen, and with Dean, Zach, Reggie, Liz and Mike's fish, we ended up with a little over a HUNDRED 25-40 lb fish! Seriously. And I told my husband when I left, "what I want for my birthday is to NOT have to cut these fish!!!" So, they had to force themselves to stop, so they could head and gut the fish to fit in our sleds!

gages fish

We've spent the last two days filleting, vacuum packing and freezing fish. I've shipped over 150 lbs to family and friends, and STILL have more. (the Arctic Region of Alaska is the only place you can catch shii-fish. They are MUCH better than halibut!) We eat shii-fish as much as we eat Salmon, Caribou and Moose, so we're pretty much good to go for the year.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Martha Stewart and Groceries

That Martha Stewart. Such a thief. I totally made a rainbow cake before she "debuted" it on her show today. I am so irked.

I had seen on another blogger's site a 16 layer cake, and took off on that idea to use rainbow colors when I made Kaisa's cake. So, I completely think I was the inventor of the awesomeness that is a rainbow cake.

Good thing I'm sick, cause I wouldn't have seen Ms. Stewart steal my idea! I expect benefits and royalties! Like a piece on your show MARTHA!!!

pantry before

OK, anyway, I ORIGINALLY thought I'd talk about the TONS and TONS of groceries that I ordered from My Harvest America. They are ALL finally in. After five long, starving weeks, ALL my non-perishable groceries came in.

I totally feel like Old Mother Hubbard, who went to her cupboard, and I swear to you on all things holy, it was BARE! (or at least it was sort of messy!)

pantry after

And let me tell you, It was WELL WORTH THE WAIT! Seriously, groceries are like more precious than Gold up here. A gallon of milk is over ten bucks after taxes, and a dozen grody eggs is almost five. Don't even get me started on kid snacks. I mean, I'd save money importing an orange tree from Florida and growing it in the middle of my living room.

But now that I have GREAT HARVEST AMERICA, I can just order canned Mandarin oranges!!! Yay. My kids are giddy with delight because its no more ziplock bags of bulk cheez-its for them!


If you visit my site (YES, I totally signed up man, to YOUR benefit, and mine!) and click Shopper Login, then use my username: finnskimo and password: winter, you too can get the dirt ass cheapest groceries you've EVER seen. Yes, even those of you who pay a buck twenty five for milk, you will see CHEAP prices and better yet, FREE SHIPPING!


So, AAAALLLL the groceries I bought came out to almost $350, which, by the way, would be less than ONE cart here in Kotzebue at the Store-that-will-remain-unnamed. (COUGH, AC, COUGH). And even though they don't offer any perishables, that's OK, because the money we save on Toilet Paper, Paper towels, Laundry soap, and Capri-Sun (a DOLLAR NINTY FOUR MAN!), we can use for FRESH monopolized MILK! (AND DUDE, if you're a baker, I got TWO - 25 lb bags of flour for sixteen bucks TOTAL!) (AND DUDE, if you're a coffee drinker, I got the bulk-sized Hills Bros for FIVE BUCKS A CAN!) (And DUDE...its just so awesome, you have to check it out!)

Get this, I put up SEVERAL signs over at the "community board" at the AC store here and ALL MY SIGNS mysteriously disappeared less than an hour after hanging up. Seriously, I put up at least five different posters showing the AWESOMENESS that is GREAT HARVEST AMERICA.


And even better? I signed up, so now YOU can save too. Feel free to use my username, password, but make sure you use your own credit card and shipping address! ha.

me the big cheez

And enjoy your cheez-its as much as I do! :) (EVERY time I go fishing!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Happy Birthday to me.

So, among other things I got for my birthday over 100 shii-fish that I didn't have to cut up, was strep throat.

Sucky suckington. I am in pain, and sore, and pretty much staring out the window at my sledload of fish. My husband, since it was my birthday yesterday, cut up ALL the fish.

They range in size from about 20 lbs to about 40 lbs. I'll post pics when Dean gets home from the village he went to today.

Yeah, my husband commutes to the surrounding villages almost every day by plane. Anyway, he took the camera that shows what we caught yesterday. Which, including all that fish, was also a mildly irritating sunburn.

Yes, we get sunburn ice fishing. Bad sunburn. We call it "Eskimo tan" because its sort of an inverse raccoon eye tan. The only normal skin left is where your enormous sunglasses shielded you from the double jeopardy of white hot ice, and the blazing sun.

Anyway, yesterday morning we started off with sourdough hotcakes, sausage and fresh Tundra Chicks eggs, then got ALL the kids ready and headed out to steak our claim on Pipe Spit. Seriously, we had a village. There were about twenty or so people out there.

Most people (Ahem, chris, shayne) got bored and left before the "big hit" came around seven or so. THEN we just could NOT stop catching fish.

Of course, Gage was still with us, and had to go home, and my throat burned worse than my Eskimo Tan, so I took him home on a 4-wheeler. I told my husband that for my birthday, I don't want to cut any fish. Seeing as though we caught well over a hundred, that was a HUGE present. They all needed to be either filleted, or be-headed and gutted at the very least.

Today...I'm suffering. I have aloe for my face, and chloraseptic for my throat. But, dang does that whole sled load look GOOD. :)

Here's to another year of fun.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


We went fishing the other's what happened...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Native Youth Olympics.

Seal Ball

My son participates in every sport he can here up north. Well, not volleyball, but we don't have mixed Volleyball like the villages do. But, all the "boy" sports, he's right there in the middle of them.

Coach Aqpik

His problem is that he HATES to have the spotlight. I think once I heard him say that he'd rather lick dog poop than give a speech in front of the school. (Kaisa plays this game: Would you Rather.... and she comes up with some awesome choices!) When he was starting school, at age 3, the teacher would call on him, and he would just stare at the wall, refusing to be acknowledged. Then, when he took tests, quietly, on paper, he was SUPER smart. They couldn't' understand it. And me, living with a bunch of extroverted sisters, and family members, can't understand it either!

Koy jumping

Anyway. We've had talks about his shyness and think that it's OK, but someday, he's going to have to get over it. Or at least be comfortable enough to compete in anything. So, anyway, back to NYO.

Arm Reach

He competed in several events for NYO. The middle school kids compete with the high school kids here, so he said he pretty much did it to "get better at being in a crowd." He did the Alaskan High Kick, the One foot High Kick and maybe the Toe kick, I can't remember!

Koy AK Kick

So, NYO, these are games that are meant to condition you with patience, strength, agility, as well as get you ready to hunt. A few of my favorites are the Scissor Jump, sort of a hop, skip and jump, specifically meant to allow you to be ready to jump on and off of ice flowes when seal hunting; The Seal Hop, where you stay in a push up position and hop around the gym floor; and the Stick Pull.

BKC AK Kick winner

The stick pull is meant to condition you to pull, and pull, and pull. I learned this recently, after wondering aloud about why we did do these games. There will be situations in your life, maybe you'll be pulling a friend out of the water, or saving someone's life, and you're going to have to even longer than your mind tells you that you think you can. That is what this sport is for.

Stick Pull

Many of the sports are simply meant to test your endurance. The Ear Pull, for example. Testing your pain threshold, just to see how long you can endure it. The longer you can, the better of a hunter you'll be. Because, even though we have snowmachines, and guns, and many other super hunting machines, there might possibly be a time that you need to pull your hunting partner out of the ocean. Or hang onto the side of the boat with one hand, and your child with the other.

Aydin Carry

They may seem to be "old fashioned" but I'll tell you what...if someone can hold onto a stick and pull with all his might for over fifteen seconds, HE is the one I want to go hunting with!


Saturday, April 17, 2010


Sometimes I like having internet "friends" better than I like my regular friends. Oh, come know who you are! I mean, my internet friends can't get mad at me, and I can pretty much say whatever I want to them, on their blogs...and the worst they can be is to delete my comment. My regular friends have to just listen to me put my foot in my mouth! ;)

Noodle 4-16

And that has nothing to do with my post. Neither does Rea's photo up there, but I couldn't stop myself. She's here visiting me, and oh so precious... Awe.

But, one of the ladies blogs I read every day is Jen from The Amazing Trips (my html link thing hates me, so if you want to check her out, just look over there ---> at my blog list and click through there...sorry) and she could be my long lost sister. OK let me give you reasons. One...she could never live near me. Isn't that the number one proof you could be sisters. You love each other but could never live near each other? (Because she hates the cold, and pretty much couldn't handle the food we eat!) Two...she has plenty of kids. Four. All under age six. That's Eskimo man. Three...she LOVES REI, and pretty much thinks camping is the shizzle. And what do we do for like three months out of the year? CAMP! Four...she could totally work at Red Dog, but she doesn't...she works for some oil company as a geologist. (I think.) Five...I'm trying to convince her to add Kotzebue to her "list." Sisters like to manipulate each other through the internet. See Jen!?

rolla colors

OK, anyway, a few weeks ago, or maybe last week, I can't remember. She posted a link to the Rolla Roaster and I just could not help but buy not one...not two...and certainly NOT three, but FOUR Rolla Roasters for my family for the summer. I mean, seriously, how can you NOT buy them. In the summertime up in Northern Alaska, the two food groups are Hot Dogs, and Marshmallows. And pretty much NOTHING ELSE. (Again, stupid HTML link page. UGh. Just go to rollaroaster dot com and you'll be golden!)

rolla roaster

And, AND, AND, we don't have trees, so in order to get a perfect roasting stick we have to trudge through million mosquito infested willows and chop off a branch, THEN hope it doesn't fall into the fire. THE ROLLA ROASTER ROTATES. Like as in...your hotdog/marshmallow will cook EVENLY, and you don't have to stick a half charred, half cold dog on a bun after swimming in the Chukchi Sea!


How great is that!??? Seriously. What would I do without these ladies!!?

clara rolla

OK, everyone go out and get a few. The girls decided that ours would be divvied up like this: Brown, Dean and Koy. Green, Max and Cotrane. Purple, Maija and Maddisen. Pink, Clara and Kaisa.

Holla! (Rolla! hehe couldn't help myself!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax day.

I hate tax day. I am so glad not to have been born today! EVEN though the government owes me money, I just have a strange aversion to doing my taxes! So...needless to say, I haven't done them.


I PLANNED to go home, have a glass of wine and do them last night. But, instead of that, I went for not one, but TWO walks! One with my friend Kari, and one with the girls, who were super excited to ride their bikes, but desperately needed air in their tires. And the dog is getting fatter than we are, and needed a walk too.

girls air

AND, when I finally DID get home. I decided that I wanted to make a pair of Finnish colored baby booties for Rea. So, I did that instead.

bottom boot

AND, after that I watched Idol, and my DVR'd Martha Stewart. Then, I had just enough time to read about twenty pages of "House Rules" and I went to sleep.


I'm getting in trouble aren't I? Sigh...oh well, I guess I can file and extension due to procrastination. I wonder if I can play the Eskimo-in-the-arctic card? Oh well. I guess you have to do what you have to do right?!

riding bikes

Anyway, the booties, turned out awesome. I think I'll purchase some more thinner leather, and sew some on a sewing machine rather then hand sewing them though, cause it'll solve the time problem. And maybe I'll get something done!?

a pair of booties

Other than sewing I mean.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stress Issues

OK, since my awful run-in-with-death back in late September I've had some serious stress issues. I mean, I've been stressed before, but before, all I'd do is eat a bunch of baked bread, or run a few hundred miles. (I'm thinking I'd be eating this time though, my running days are numbered!)


Now though, when I have even the itsy bitsy-est stress, I break out in miniature blisters on the palms of my hands. And you know what? IT SUCKS!

BUT. . .

I have a LOT of stress relievers in my house, cluttering up every single corner they can...collecting dust until I love them once again.

Like these...


Last night, Kaisa and I made two headbands to wear. One for me, and one for her. They're super simple, you can make them to match any outfit! (I totally don't match, but I'm a husky at heart and could NOT pass up blue and gold! And DAISIES?!!! They had me at hello!)

Kaisa is wearing this purple headband with pink and orange flowers, completely not matching anything except her bright smile. And I'm wearing a Blue and Gold Daisy one today.


I can feel the stress drain out of my toes and onto this institutional carpet!

Also, I am having an attack of the AMAZON FREE SHIPPING crafting and sewing books. I DVR'd Martha the other day and she showcased her Encyclopedia of Fabric and crafts, OMG. Again, I repeat...O.M.G!


Why do you do this to me Amazon?! I mean, with other sites, I can make the excuse of, "It costs too much to ship to Alaska..." And with FREE super saver shipping, I can't do that. I am helpless in your grasp to ship to me in Alaska! P.S. I love you Martha.

So, naturally, I bought it with one-click shopping. DAMN YOU ONE-CLICK SHOPPING! AND, my hsuband sent me an email with TWO beautiful clipped calfskin's he purchased today. You collect dust, or maybe be made into some awesome baby mukluks...or Kaisa mukluks, who knows.


I'll just do whatever my heart desires I guess. That's the happiness in something you make. You can fashion it however you like and wear it with pride.

on my head

OK, back to sewing/gluing/crafting/etc.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Arctic Un-Birthday Parties!

Yesterday was my daughter's 7th birthday. Seven years ago, I had a LOOOONG little baby (22.5 inches) after a few hours of labor, after being 12 days overdue! She has grown and GrOwN, and GROWN into a beautiful little lady.


She spent most of the weekend at her grandparents, and the only thing I was responsible for was making sure she had a wonderful birthday party waiting for her when she came home on Sunday afternoon. And a very merry un-birthday it was!

cake again

I made paper hats and had Saima put ribbons on them, and printed out several cardstock printouts of the original Alice in Wonderland illustrations for the paper bag "party bags." We hunt a string of balloons on the ceiling as a cheap alternative to paper lanterns, and while I was in the "city" last weekend, I found several mismatched tea cups and saucers at Valu-Village and the Salvation Army for just about 25 cents each. I also picked up several dollar prizes and my favorite has to be the "magician gloves" we found at Michael's for $1.


Remember now, I live in a village, and nothing is available here. I have to actually plan months ahead and purchase all the birthday supplies when we're in town. But, my sister was having a baby, so I got to rush to the big city. I even ate at McDonald's!


We found some metal planters and bought some "Alaskan Flower Seeds" guaranteed to work in the arctic conditions and some pre-fertilized soil for the girls to plant seeds during the party.



I'm sure the hit of the party though, is Eskimo Bingo. After all the games of Musical Paper, Balloon Ball, and whatever else, the kids always look forward to Eskimo Bingo! Although the "tea" was a hit too. (sprite, pomegranate syrup, and ice cream)


Oh, and you can't forget the cake! It was sort of a play on a topsy turvy cake. I was in a rush, and meant to cut the sides down, crumb coat it, etc, etc, etc...but I ended up just drizzling frosting on the sides and it looked amazing! It tasted great too!

cake candles

We had about fifteen girls show up, and best of all, my baby niece Rea (RAY-ah) came over too with my sisters to help. Yesterday was her ONE week Birthday! We gave her momma some cake so she could make it into milk and feed it to her! haha.

baby rea

So, after a long day of making 200 people sourdough hotcakes, bacon, eggs and sausage, then organizing a birthday party, I'd say, when I fell asleep at 8:30 p.m. that it was OK!


Although, my kids thought I was just "getting old!" ha.

cake and flowers

Happy 7th Year baby. We love you!