Saturday, October 30, 2010

good earth of Tennessee

 Thank you to my 2nd- and 3rd-cousins -- Sandy, Joseph, Samuel, Benji, and Gracie!!! Their surprise box of leaves, acorns, mimosa, pine needles arrived yesterday on the chopper. I happy-cried. Oh, how I miss the fall time...

 Early Christmas present.

I showed my students the leaves. One of my 7th-graders said, "They feel funny!"
One of my seniors said, "Can I have one?"
"Sure," I said.
"Really?" he said incredulously.
"Yeah, go ahead."
"Thank you!" He was so happy that he could keep a leaf.
Then all of my other students wanted to keep a leaf for themselves.

Thank you, Sandy, Joseph, Samuel, Benji, and Gracie for this amazing gift! Since I can't go home to Tennessee, you brought Tennessee to me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

polar ice

 His head.

 The first layer of ice has arrived...

I wonder how many layers of ice and snow we'll have before spring.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

fret not yourself, just befriend faithfulness

"Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness...
Refrain from anger and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil."
[from Psalm 37]

sing without fear even if you sing very little

They sang this song at church today. I just listened. Inupiaq is such a difficult language. It has sounds I've never heard before. I've included the translation from Inupiaq below. The mayor is letting me borrow the Inupiaq hymn book, which is a collection of photo copied hand-written hymns. I'm going to make some more copies and try to learn some songs.

O Bond of Love

1. aŋaayuwik attuġin
naguunilugu, Jesus
munaqsragut aŋaayuqagut annatiutigut.
atugumain iqsinatin,
atuq awin unniin, miksruq,
atuġumain iqsinatin
attuŋawin unnun mik sruq,

2. nutaamun atuġnatuq,
Jesus-im akzraini
qaqqiaq iniuruq,
suli iniutitiruŋ
kia, kizian aŋayun
taimana sawinava,
kia, kizian aŋayun,
taimana sawinava.

3. qiniłqa simmiyuŋilaq,
uvvaa qaq qiaq suli wine,
aŋaayutim niġi mun,
suli auŋmun simmituq.
innuit, simiqublugit,
Jesus itun itqublugit,
innuit simiqublugit,
Jesus itun itqublugit.

Jesus, maaŋ silam qaqqiaq
ilipnun iliġanamiik,
qibliłqin izriqłutin,
itqublutin uummayimni.


Sing, you faithful, to good Jesus, our Shepherd, our God, our Savior. Sing without fear even if you sing very little. My Jesus, food of heaven, we thank you. Your brightness is hidden. Stay in me. Something now is happening in Jesus' hand. The bread lives and keeps on living. Who but God alone could do this? The appearance is not changed. You see the bread and wine. But they are changed to the flesh and blood of God to change people to be like Jesus.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

cappuccino muffins

I'm finding that I really enjoy cooking and baking, provided that I have the right ingredients. I wish I were near an Aldi or Wal-Mart...or a store that sold basic groceries so that I could participate in Adrienne and I just made a food order with Span Alaska and spent about $900. I'm not used to having to buy everything in bulk. When you can't simply run out to Ingles, Wal-Mart, or Bi-Lo, you definitely have to learn how to plan your meals.

Sometimes you have to improvise though when you don't have the right ingredients. Check out this recipe for cappuccino muffins. The recipe calls for instant coffee, but none could be found on our little island in the sea. So, Willis gave us some of his leftover coffee, and we used that in our muffins. They were yummy, but my suspicion is that they would have been yummier if there was a stronger coffee flavor. I think the instant coffee would have been a better choice for the muffins, but we didn't really have a choice. Oh, the difficulty of island living... (Just kidding.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

the first time I ever saw a polar bear

I ordered a new coat made -- one that is made for arctic temperatures. I don't think my Columbia coat will cut it. My new one has a faux-fur ruff, but I hope to eventually buy a polar bear fur ruff and switch it out. It'd be expensive...anywhere from $150 to $300, but how often does a person get a chance to have real polar bear fur on their coat?

This picture was taken at the Philadelphia Zoo. It's the only time I've ever seen a polar bear. I'm in the middle. You can see my excitement compared to that of my sister and my brother. Is this foreshadowing? An overabundance of enthusiasm for arctic animals?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Walrus Hunt

Finally! After a month of trying to upload this video, I prevail. As per my mother's request, I am to warn all viewers of gruesome, bloody, or gross videos or pictures. So here is the official warning: This video that Adrienne and I put together is a little gruesome, bloody, or gross. (But also just really awesome.) Many thanks goes to Louis, who gave us permission to post this video and who also gave us some clams from the walrus' belly and part of the walrus' liver. It was not bad eatin'. Enjoy the video!

Friday, October 15, 2010


It's the end of the quarter. The students completed their quarterly reading tests, and to end the week, we watched one of my favorite movies, Freedom Writers. In the movie, the teacher uses a line from one of 2Pac's songs an example of internal rhyme. She asks students how many of them like 2Pac, and they all raise their hands. When she asked that in the movie, my students also raised their hands. It made me smile.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

my humble abode

I would just invite you all over for sweet tea and borscht, but since you aren't here...

 An interesting sunset.

 My closet-like area.
 The kitchen.

 The kitchen.

 The kitchen.
 Where we keep our trash...

The living room. Our coffee table is a kids' classroom table.

Another view...
 The back yard.

 Spots. The more we feed him the less he growls at us. Eventually, we will be come friends.

Friday, October 8, 2010

your foggy voice unbass itself of thunder

Lord, let your face be lined.
Lord, let your hair be gray with patience.
Holy Father, let your cheeks be silver with long growth
as you put up with me and put up with me.
Lord, let your face be a blazon of parts
in which I can name you sufficient
to be seen in your unseen presence.
Lord, let your face be lined with the knowledge
of my sins. Let your brow be uncreased in forgiveness.
Lord, let your eyes be clear of lightning
and your foggy voice unbass itself of thunder.
Lord, let your face be lined
and your massive chest be peaceful in breathing,
the falling and rising that is my slow way to you.

Monday, October 4, 2010

kindness makes the world go 'round

 Kindness makes the world go 'round. Really, it's true. I received a care package from fellow-southerner Susan, professor of social work in Mississippi. She lived on St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea for five weeks, and she has a superb blog chronicling her experiences there. Before my interest in Little Diomede Island, I was interested in St. Paul Island, and so Susan answered a lot of my questions about the island. So, she knew what kind of survival foods I would need on a remote island -- chocolate, cashews, yogurt-covered almonds, EasyMac, rosemary crackers (which are already almost gone), shortbread triangles, peanut butter, tea, and chocolate wafers. I am overwhelmed by her kindness and generosity! Thank you, Susan!

My second care package came wrapped as a birthday present. You can see the stars on the wrappers. Who would send 36 packets of Fun Dip, a weird sing-a-long stuffed animal, and Galaxy Quest on DVD? None other than my sister. Some sisters are bound by blood, but my sister and I are bound by Fun Dip. It is our favorite candy. We have fond memories of Fun Dip because that is what our dad would bring home from the store for us every now and then when we were little. Fun Dip. Who doesn't love Fun Dip?