Monday, December 22, 2014

from a few weeks ago

Enjoying the tundra for the short hour of sunlight.

Fish camp. Looks like a ghost town in in the winter.

Red moon rising over the frozen ocean.

Snow Graffiti 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My Entries for the District's Photo Contest

I'm entering these photos in our school district's photography contest. If one of them gets chosen, it will go to the state competition. I'll keep you posted!

I titled this one "The Rocks Are Closer Than We Are."

This one is called "The Forgotten Snowman."

Not good quality, but the content is beautiful, right?
Simply called "The Rainbow."

This one is called "Seal Hunting."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lurking Nanook in the Snow

Do you see anything lurking in the snow? Look closely before scrolling down...

Now try again.... See it? There. Yep. You've found it.

Here, I zoomed in for you.

Okay, so here's the story. On Sunday night, my friends Melissa, Chad, and Mike came over for dinner and a movie. Then we (including Quya) decided to go look for polar bears -- safely in Chad's car, that is. We drove a long way on the road that leads to the fish camp, which looks like a frozen ghost town (pictures forthcoming), and eventually leads to Point Barrow. We stopped when we saw a police car at the fish camp; he was shining a bright light across the road towards the ice. We slowed down and saw a beautiful polar bear. Not only that, the Northern Lights were glimmering in the background. But it doesn't stop there. Shooting stars were streaking across the sky.

Needless to say, we were in awe.

Eventually, we struck up a conversation with the cop. He said, "I'd advise you to stay in the car."

Duly noted.

He then added, "However, polar bears can open cars up like a beer can."

The bear pawed at some ice and then lay down for a bit.

We drove around more, looking for other bears. The cop told us that there were a total of nine bears (three males, two or three females, some cubs) wandering around in the area. These bears had been roaming through the dumpsters at the tribal college, Ilisagvik, and gnawing on some leftover whale bones left out at the fish camp. Too close to town, so the cops have been attempting to scare them away from town.

Side note: When I went to the college's Web site today, this notification popped up:

Back to Sunday's story.

We drove around some more, looking for a mama bear and some baby bears. None to be found.

At least we got to see this male bear though and only fifty yards away. 

Photo Credit: Chad!

Unfortunately, when we returned to this male bear, two men were out there, ready to hunt it. One was on a snow machine and the other on foot with gun in hand. The snow machine inched along, making every effort to be as soundless as possible.

We left when we saw the hunters.

Next day at school, one of my students said, "Somebody got a bear last night."

Thursday, November 27, 2014

quya | to celebrate Thanksgiving

Quya: "I's a big fan of dis bed."

By the way, I just found out that Quya is an Iñupiaq word that means "to celebrate Thanksgiving (of many people)."

I knew it was the root word of "quyanaqpak" which means "thank you very much," but I didn't know quya in and of itself means to to celebrate Thanksgiving. Cool!

Snowy morning.

Current Stats:
Time: 1:15 P.M.
Temperature: -7 Fahrenheit, -22 Celsius
Wind Chill: -28 Fahrenheit, -33 Celsius
Sunrise: none
Sunset: none

Quyanaqpak, Father, for...
Thanksgiving break
Christmas lights
apple cinnamon candles
Darjeeling tea
good friends and Just Dance parties
ambition to keep on wrestling with Aristotle's Physics
hope of a new world

Monday, November 24, 2014


The sky was pretty amazing this afternoon.

The color of the horizon in the winter time here is my favorite.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

iluaqsi | to become well, to be healed

I've been MIA for the past few days, sick as a dog, at home, lying on the couch. I'm pretty sure my substitute teacher who filled in for me doesn't speak English. In other words, what did my students do for two days? That shall remain a mystery, and I'm not sure I want to know.

Once upon a time, being sick was fun. You got to stay home from school, watch cartoons all day, and drink Sprite.  But as an adult, all you want to do is chug the vitamin C and pray for divine healing. 

No, actually, all you want is your blankie, Cheerios, and your mommy.

But thankfully, I was feeling much better today, and I even felt energetic enough to take Quya for an evening walk in some rather blizzardy weather. (Winter weather advisory is in effect until 6 P.M. tomorrow. WILL THERE BE SCHOOL? [cue suspenseful music])

By the way, the sun didn't come up today. It will come back up on January 23rd, according to Master Google.

Current Stats:
Time: 8:45 P.M.
Temperature:  13 degrees F (-11 C)
Wind Speed: East 31 mph
Wind Chill: -8 F (-22 C)
Sunrise: none
Sunset: none

Quyanaqpak, Father, for...
saltine crackers
moments of unflappability
promise of eagle's wings
one month till I meet Liam
hearing "FINALLY! You're BACK!" today
student who created sticker chart to motivate herself to stay drug-free

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Studentism #13 | presentate

"I'll be the last one to presentate, okay?"

kirratchiaq | sunny weather (=happy happy joy joy!)

Not sure how this picture happened above, but my panorama shot caught Quya running. She's got a twin! Looks real too. Crazy. I don't think I could handle two Quyas.

I think the mosaics on the corners are beautiful.

I walked Quya across the lagoon today. I felt like my face was going to fall off. It was so cold.

Frozen lagoon. Quya's shadow.

Current Stats:
Time: 2:12 P.M.
Temperature: 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C)
Wind Speed: E 10 mph
Wind Chill: -16 degrees F (-27 degrees C)
Sunrise: 10:27 A.M.
Sunset: 3:58 P.M.

Quyanaqpak, Father, for...
sunshine, sunshine, sunshine
an extra hour of sleep this weekend
cinnamon and orange brewing on the stove
being able to do five loads of laundry at once
fun Halloween night with Melissa

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Suvat? | What's up?

Suvat? = What's up?

I'm glad you asked.

 Skyline was observed.

Walruses and geese were hacked.

Darkness descended. Streetlights were lit.

 Sun peeked out.

John visited.

Whales were caught.

Large pencils were used.

Tundra was explored.

The ocean was entered.

Congrats, John & Chad. You are now members of the Polar Bear Plunge Club.

In case you are wondering, the temperature of the water was 27 degrees. 
The air temp was in the 20s. Not sure what the wind chill was that day though.

Today's Stats:

Temperature: 23 F
Wind Speed: NW 14 mph
Wind Chill: 11 F 
Sunrise: 10:58 A.M.
Sunset: 5:21 P.M.

Quyanaqpak, Father, for...
dog-training shock collars
pumpkin bread
forgiveness 7 x 70 times
Christmas lights year-round
sweet parents in parent-teacher conferences
getting Inuit Day off of school in November

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Studentism #12

A couple of funny things....

"I love my funniness."


"Who's Pearl Harbor?"

Saturday, September 27, 2014

naluksaaq | to plunge into water, or THE POLAR BEAR PLUNGE (dun dun dunnnn)

Guess what? I actually did it. Yep, I was completely covered head to toe in the waters of the Arctic Ocean. I did the Polar Bear Plunge.

Sorry for the shakiness of the camera. It was taken via a friend's iPhone who messaged it to me as a text, but apparently, it had a rough time of it when it went into the Arctic Interwebz Vortex.

Before the plunge. We looked cold even before getting wet. Well, it was 27 degrees with wind chill of 16 degrees. See? 

Thankfully, we did the Polar Bear Plunge before the high surfs come in!


1, 2, 3, GO!

This is my favorite pic. I love it.

The shock was intense. I fell into some kind of hole, just dropped down, so I was completely soaked. I started feeling my body go numb almost immediately! I wanted to get out ASAP.

Run away, run away, run away!!!

We did. We went to Chad & Melissa's house, which is on the beach, took off all wet clothing, warmed up, and drank hot tea. 

Good day.