Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Potluck in Perryville -- Crab Legs!

The Boy as a dinosaur in the Christmas play.

We made salt dough ornaments in class.

School let out 20 minutes ago.  I am officially on break!!!  Yay!  Of course, in 2 hours there's a volleyball tournament.... so I'm staying at school and working in the room until then.

The Girl made it home last Friday.  We are so thrilled that we are all back together again.  Splitting up the family was not something we had bargained for when we moved to Alaska. Understand... it was the best choice for everyone last summer but it's really been hard for us to all be in different places.

We are staying in Perryville for the break.  We don't have to be back at school until January 10 -- for teacher in-service.  The students will be back on the 11th.  I have lots of plans for the break.  I need to go through all the school tubs that I have packed across Alaska.  I need to clean out cabinets in the classroom.  I need to straighten up the storage closet at home.  I need to finish my own bedroom.  How does laundry accumulate that way?! 

Tomorrow is cooking day for us.  I am so happy that our order from Mr. Prime Beef came today.  Our freezer is way empty.  They delivered it to PenAir last week and then it just sat in the freezer in Anchorage.  I was afraid it would be next week or later before we would get it.  I got hamburger, shrimp, ribeye steaks and chicken.  We've been to MPB in Anchorage but we've never ordered from them.  I'll let you know how it is.

The Christmas play was last night.  It was cute but really short.  Probably the shortest in history.  It was about Santa and dinosaurs.  The costumes/props turned out well and the kids were happy.  Every student in the school participated.  The school had a potluck afterwards.  Someone brought crab legs.  I didn't try them but I did make pics --- you just don't see a lot of crab at a potluck in OK.  There was a lot of fish pie and dried fish.  The school fixed 2 turkeys.  All in all, there was a lot of food and everyone seemed to have a good time.  I went home with a fistful of cards and 3 handmade doilies that are beautiful. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How Can It Be?

Okay... I was shocked to see the date on the last post.  Do you realize Christmas is in 16 days? The Girl will be home next Friday?!  Yippee!  How weird to think about coming home to a place you've never been before? 

School is going well here.  The Christmas play is coming along.  Kids are beginning to get excited about the holidays.  They really will after Saturday afternoon.  We are meeting to work on play props and decorations.  Once the tree goes up..... their minds are gone!  :)

I'm making fry bread tonight.  I can't wait.  The Boy said, "Fry bread!?  Something fried?"  We haven't had anything fried in quite a while.  We are all looking forward to it.  I've been saving an onion to make onion rings --- I hope it hasn't ruined!  That's it about living out here.  You get something special and you want to save it BUT if you wait too long ---- so sorry, so sad.....

I'm still waiting on Christmas presents to come in, too.  The mail seems to be so slow here.  I guess I'll wrap empty boxes on the 24th if I have to. 

We get out on the 22 and don't have to teach again until Jan. 10.  I'm so excited.  I'm tired.  I need some time in my classroom without kids.  Extended time.  Time to work through cabinets and drawers. 

From the looks of this post, I didn't have much to say.  Let me just put this one out of its misery by saying that we sure do miss you guys who read this blog.  We hope you have a great holiday!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving and Birthdays

I don't know where the four-day weekend went!  It was over just like that...

We had brought a big turkey to Perryville when we moved because we didn't know if we would be able to get one out here.  We wouldn't have...  So, the Mister and I got up early on Thursday morning and put it into cook.  I made a pot of dressing and got my dough into rolls so they could rise.  I made jello and green peas.  Another teacher from school came over about 1:00 with home-made mac and cheese and a pumpkin pie with real cream.  What an excellent meal!

On Friday, the Boy and I put up the Christmas tree.  Then I got to thinking about how something didn't seem right .... no leftover dessert.... sooooo.... the Boy and I experimented and made pie dough.  Then, since pumpkin is his favorite, we made 2 pies.  WOW!  We're not bad at making pie!
Later, I wrote my paper for my oceanography class that I am taking as well as the 3rd test for the semester.  I will be so happy when that class is over!  It was a full day.

I guess Friday was full enough because I didn't want to do anything on Saturday.  I can't hardly remember the day.  I guess we had it, though.

Sunday was my birthday.  The Boy remembered it about mid-morning.  The Mister had ordered for my day but of course, it hadn't come in ---- it never does when you have a specific day you want it!  We ended up working at school most of the afternoon and went home to a dinner of chicken enchiladas and spanish rice with pineapple upside down cake.  I didn't wash a dish all day.

For anyone who is trying to call us.... you can't.  GCI is messed up all along the peninsula.  Everyone is having problems.  If you really want to talk.... email me and I'll call you. 
 polarbearbait  @
(without the spaces.)

We're in the countdown for the Girl to come home.  Only 17 more days !!!!  IF the weather cooperates.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Perryville - First Photos

Perryville is situated on a lava flow.  The black sand is beautiful.  The ocean is to our south and there is a volcano to the north.  So is the tsunami shelter!

The top pic is from the plane looking out from Perryville Village.  The other 2 pics were taken as we made our descent to Perryville.  It is breathtaking!

Happy Thanksgiving!

How can Thanksgiving be here in less than 36 hours?  I guess we've spent our whole fall counting down days until this or until that, so that now here we are --- starting the holiday season.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Yesterday was my first full day in the classroom without the sub.  The kids were wonderful.  We got through the reading, re-started math and even did some writing.  While that may not sound like much --- I have 4 reading levels and 4 math levels and (on paper) 4 writing levels.  The reading program here is scripted, so that means a different lesson for 4 groups --- 3 groups have only 1 person in them.  Math is better but it's still 4 lessons.  I did rearrange the topic order so that every group is basically dealing with the same concepts.  I also have an aide during those two subjects but it takes 2 hours to get through reading  and then another 70 minutes for math --- add P.E., lunch, buddy reading, writing, music, and play practice and the day is gone.  We think that when our head teacher returns --- the Mister will get to come back into our classroom and help out as well.  He plans to start science and social studies in January.

The Boy and the Mister worked hard over the weekend to re-do the classroom.  The theme is Dr. Seuss.  They put up all new bulletine boards, washed the desks and put on new nameplates, moved books and materials around the room, cleaned, and brought 4 of the 14 tubs of "stuff" I thought I needed in the room.  By Sunday night, we were all exhausted but very pleased with the end result.  The students responded well to the changes on Monday.  I think it's going to be a good year here in Perryville.  I am thankful for such a nice place to live and work!

Our school hours are 9-4 ----- teachers start at 8.  The kids are eating breakfast now.  I've got to get down there for morning assembly.  We make announcements and say the Pledge of Allegiance.  It's a good way to start the day ----- Have a great Thanksgiving.  Thanks for reading about our lives!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Perryville, AK

We arrived in Perryville on Sunday, Nov. 14 at 4:15 pm.  WOW!  There is black sand everywhere.  It right on the coast.  There's a volcano behind our house and water in front.  There's even a tsunami shelter up the road from our house.  Some big rock islands jut up out of the water in front of the village.  The mountains around us have snow.  There are alder bushes and a "few" trees.  It is a truly beautiful place.

The teachers met us at the plane.  Again, we were so thankful for the help.  We got everything off the plane and he took off.  I went to the housing first and it is great.  We have terrific views of the ocean and village.  The old Russian Orthodox church is in front of us.  We are about 100 yards from the school -- if that far.  We have a good boardwalk so it's an easy walk.

I will be teaching in the K-3 class.  I have 7 kids.  The Mister is subbing for the head teacher.  He has 6-12 graders and there are about 14 of them.  He'll be covering social studies and English.

The Boy is happy here.  He has gone to gym night and he's gotten started with his classes. 

The people here have been just as nice as the Pedro Bay folks.  We are looking forward to meeting everyone (there was a potluck Tuesday night for us and the sub who is leaving --- but we didn't get to know everyone!)  Oh!Our apt. is GREAT!  It has 2 bedrooms and a large living area.  We have about 16 feet of windows on one wall that looks out to the beach.  The kitchen has lots of cabinets and a good pantry.  There's also a large store room by the kitchen.  The floors are wood laminate.  We are very happy to be here.  Our Alaskan adventure continues!

Last days in Pedro Bay, AK

I'm writing this in retrospect and I'm sure I'll leave something out - how could I even try to get it all in?!  The Mister and the Boy left last Wednesday and went to Levelock for the district volleyball tournament.  PB ended up sending 4 players.  They had a bye for the first game, played one game on the second day and played the semi-finals on Friday.  They played for the championship and won.  The Mister said the whole crowd seemed to be cheering on PB.  Everyone realized that the school was closing and that would be the last thing the kids ever did as PB students.  I think it was a tear-jerker.

Soooo... I was left in PB with 3 students and the end of the packing.  We had saved boxes all fall and ended up using every last one of them.  On Sunday, the Pilatus from Illiamna Air picked us up.  We were supposed to start loading at 10:00 am but snow showers kept pushing back the time.  Finally, at 2:00 we started loading tubs on to the plane.  We had 2 pick-up loads and a few items in another truck to load.  We think it was about 2000 pounds plus the three of us.  The plane was packed.  They had taken all the seats out and then packed tubs right up behind us.  The Boy got to ride in the cockpit.  Big stuff!  We took off at 2:45 --- 15 minutes earlier than the pilot had wanted --- something about getting that plane off the ground and away from the snow!

On Saturday night, the village had cake and ice cream for us.  The beautiful cake said Thank You and Good Luck Wards.  It was so nice.  I think Courtney brought the cake back from Anchorage.  It was very good cake.  One of the girls from school brought me earrings she had made and Becca, a student's mom, brought me a fresh spruce wreath with berries and a gold bow --- I've already put it on my front door.  It SMELLS so good!

Verna came by Sunday morning and visited for a while and then the Jensen family came to help us load up the truck.  We couldn't have done it without them.  In fact, our stay at PB was so much nicer because of them and everyone else at PB.  We felt so accepted and at home.  People were very nice to us.  I was sorry to leave the village.  Those students and their families will always hold a special place in our hearts and memories of Alaska.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Less than 60 Days 'till Christmas!

Yep... the countdown is on!  The girl will be coming home for Christmas after all!  I was really beginning to wonder how we could get it worked out.  I had always reassured people that she was just a day away from us but now we have come to realize that in all likelihood, she is two days away.  At least she will be when we move to Perryville.  You can't hardly fly from one place to the other without spending the night in Anchorage.  Bummer.

For those who care and might want to come see us or visit Sitka:  A round-trip ticket from Anchorage to Sitka was $441 and from Anchorage to Perryville was $804.  Luckily Alaska Air was giving 3 miles on the dollar!  We were able to use miles for the Perryville flight. 

Point of interest:  Alaska Airlines offers a mileage plan through VISA that anyone who is moving to Alaska or thinking about visiting more than once should think about getting.  We put EVERYTHING through that card.  The mileage adds up quick and it sure makes travel a lot easier when you can use your cash someplace else.  AND, you get a companion ticket for $99, too.  Check it out at:

The Mister called this morning from Port Alsworth.  The team played last night and won their game.  They say they are having a great time. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Time Marches On

The Mister went to in-service in King Salmon this past week.  The district office (DO) told him that a plane will be here in Pedro Bay on Sunday, the 14th, to pick up us and our belongings and fly us to Perryville directly.  To understand this a bit better --- I have nearly 17 Rubbermaid totes in my classroom of just school stuff.  AUGHH!!!  We have eliminated books and clothes at a record level at the apartment.  It will take at least 4 or 5 pick-up loads to get our gear down to the airport.  We will have to keep out our heavy winter gear because of weather --- you never know what it's going to be like and we will cover over 400 miles of terrain.  While the airplane should be comfortable --- you always have to plan for the unexpected!

The DO told the Mister that I would be substituting for the secondary Reading, Writing and Social Studies teacher while they are out for personal business.  I don't know how long that will be.  The Mister is set to teach the 1-3 graders.  Later on I will return as his aide for the rest of the year.  Maybe. 

Who knows?!  You know how people laugh and talk about some people who wake up in a new world every morning?  Well, that's us.  We just live with what we've got and either hope that we can hang on to it or that tomorrow morning will bring something better....

We went to church this morning.  I will miss the singing and visiting with folks.  It has been a good time for our family to have this extended family.

In case you're interested.... I am finally buying tickets for the Girl to come home at Christmas.  This has turned into quite a job.  She can leave Mt. Edgecumbe after school on the 16th but the late flight is apparently filled -- this happened while we were waiting to find out just where we should buy the for!  Now we know where we're going to be and the logistics are difficult to say the least.  I can get her to Anchorage or King Salmon but somewhere she'll have to probably spend the night in the airport.  Then flights to Perryville are limited so I'm trying to get the timing right on that, too.  AND, I'd really like to use my mileage with Alaska Air so that seems to be putting a wrinkle in it, too.  If you're still interested, Pen Air is advertising the price from Anchorage to Perryville at $804 round trip ---- by the time this is all said and done I could just as well send the Girl to Oklahoma for the break!!!  I'll let you know what I finally get worked out.....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It happens just like that...

We knew when we came to Pedro Bay in August that there was a chance the school could close before the end of the year.  This week, we came to that spot in time where the decision was made for us.  At last word, we were told that the school will in fact close down.  Our timeline is still sketchy but it looks like November 19 will be our last day of classes.  The district will charter a plane for us and our belongings soon after that --- probably the 20th.

We will be moving to Perryville.  It is at the southern-most tip of our district.  The village runs about 100 during the winter months and drops to around 15 during the summer.  Most people go to Chignik to the canneries or they fish for themselves. 

Perryville is beautiful we have been told.  The pictures certainly are.  There aren't any trees but there are mountains and even an active volcano.  The village faces the Pacific Ocean and has a 3mile stretch of black sand.  The teachers there have caught salmon and halibut on the beach --- however, the teacher who told the Mister this, says he doesn't go to the beach without his rifle and bear spray!

The Mister will be the 1-3 grade teacher and I will be his aide.  We are hoping that next year we can both be teachers.  There are 2 other teachers there now.  It will be good to have the company.

The Boy has enjoyed his time here at Pedro Bay.  He has been able to play volleyball and will even get to travel with the team to the volleyball Jamboree next week in Port Alsworth.  He has made friends with all the kids and seems to like the discussions they have in class.  He has also started learning to play the piano.

The Girl called us yesterday.  She had written songs as an assignment for choir.  She said the kids all really liked her songs and the whole choir is going to learn one of them.  Apparently, she is going to sing another one that she wrote for graduation.  She is really enjoying choir this year.

The grandparents are back in Oklahoma after spending 2 weeks in Sitka with the Girl.  It sounds like they all had a great time.  Plans are already being laid for the next round of visits!

We are out of school this week for teacher in-service.  The Boy and I are home.  The Mister has flown to King Salmon.  The Boy and I are catching up on video time and cooking.  I'm trying to learn how to play on the playstation II but he doesn't have much hope for me!  The volleyball team is practicing every afternoon and I'm packing things away in my classroom.  The next month will fly by, I'm sure.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It Snowed!

The salmon pond is nearly empty. 

Yep... those are bear tracks.

The day after it snowed.  the mountains are just beautiful1!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

An Interesting Site

If you go to and then choose southwest Alaska, and then choose Pedro Bay, you can see our weather!  The new cams have been up a couple of weeks now.  One shows the school and if you just go right on around that building  --- that's where we live!

If you look at Sitka --- southeast Alaska --- you can see the weather at the Girl's school.

Have fun.  I thought it was pretty interesting.

Oh, yeah .... if you want to leave a message about any post, just mouse over the "0 comments" and click.  It should let you comment ---- only nice messages, please! 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

First of Many Firsts

Mt. Edgecumbe emailed this week.  They sent an announcement for the first-ever state-wide teleconference.  It was Thursday night.  All the parents called in and then the superintendent, the housing principal and I think, one of the nurses plus the lady who is over home/school relations.  It was strange to sit and listen to parents call in and tell their own name and the name of their child and then where they were from.  People called in from all over the state.  Some parents we recognized.  They are teachers in other districts whom we have met before.  It helped me in knowing that they are all parents, too, who are wanting to know if their child is okay --- not just academically, but socially, too.  We talk to our Girl about 2-3 times a week.  Sometimes we use SKYPE.  It is a life-saver.  It really helps to be able to see her face!

The superintendent gave some numbers.  Here is that info:

Enrollment      412
Freshmen        113
Sophmores     95
Juniors          115
Seniors           88

Girls        257
Boys        155

Returning Students      220
New Students             192

Mt. Edgecumbe DID make AYP last year.

We felt that the teleconference was well worth the time.  It was very informative.  The next one is scheduled for November. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Well, I've had one online class this week and I'm afraid it's going to be a LONG semester.  Science left me behind a long time ago!

On the other hand.... I have now finished 5 of the 10 activities I need for my Intro. to Educational Technology.  And... I have an "A" so far! 

It looks like we may just make the counting cut-off.  Everyone has to be enrolled by the 27th here in Alaska so that schools can count the students and find out how much money the government is going to pay up for next year.  We "think" we're going to get to stay here in Pedro Bay for the rest of this year.   That will be great!!

Went bear "hunting" last night ---- nothing.  BUT, the salmon are STACKED up in the little creek that goes through the village out to the airport.  Last night they were just lined up like people waiting in line.  Side by side..... not going anywhere.... just waiting.... I'm going to try and get a picture of it.  There were hundreds of fish in that little creek.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Just Pics

These are pics I took yesterday.  After a week of rain we have enjoyed 3 days of sunshine.  The water is running off the mountains and you can hear it throughout the village.  The waterfall above our house was roaring yesterday!

Can you see the salmon?

We were about 100 feet away --- in the safey of the truck!
It seems that it's getting more difficult to find the bears.  Our record for one night is 7.  We haven't seen the Mama and her 2 cubs in over 2 weeks now.
A view of Rainbow Lodge, located here in Pedro Bay.
This is the old airstrip. Now it is part of the 3 mile loop around the village.  The Boy was at party on this road last week.  They were playing volleyball when they looked up and saw a bear coming to join them.  Everyone hopped on their 4-wheelers, screaming, "Bear!!!!" and went home.  That party ended rather early...

This is from the sandy beach on Lake Iliamna.  Have you heard about the Lake Iliamna Monster?

Monday, September 6, 2010

If today is a holiday, why am I working so hard?

Today is Labor Day and we are laboring.... We stayed away from school all weekend so I guess it's right that we have to do something today.

When I started the blog today I didn't think I had anything to write, so I decided to pull some pics from our trip this summer.  These pictures are from Amarillo.  This RV place was great.  It was incredibly clean, had pool, laundry rooms and it was really quiet.  BUT, the best part, is that it was super cheap.  I think we paid $20.00!!  They are on I-40 and they're on the west end of the city.  We just happened to drive out that far and found them.  We just got our member's card this week from them.  It's good for 20% off, I think.  Anyway, the owners were really putting out a plea for custormers.  Sooooo.... if you happen to drive your RV out that way..... stop at the Oasis.  They're great.

The picture of the Boy gives you an idea of what went on for miles and miles.  Really, for all the miles we drove, we couldn't be prouder of our Kids.  They are great travelers.

The last pic was taken as we entered into New Mexico.  I'm trying to remember the heat and dryness but it has been wet, wet, wet here in Pedro Bay.  The temps have been mid-50s with a lot of fog.

We went to a wedding on Saturday.  It was good to get out and visit with community members.  The ceremony was very touching and the food was great.  I sure was tired by the time we got home that evening.  The former pastor married the young couple and then he also preached on Sunday morning.  We enjoyed going to church with our neighbors.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Classes Online

Back in the spring when we took this job at Pedro Bay, I thought it would be a good time to go back to school and work on my elementary endorsement for the state of Alaska.  So, this summer I spent two or three whole days trying to get online and get enrolled.  Part of my problem was that I didn't understand that the University of Alaska is HUGE!  There are campuses in Juneau, Anchorage, Fairbanks and lots of smaller schools in the major hubs across the state.  You might take a class here or there, but on your transcripts it all says University of Alaska.  And then... there's a site to enroll and a site to keep up with your classes and a site for this and a site for that..... and of course, all the cute little things that your computer can do to show off how smart it is and you aren't!  I did finally get enrolled in 2 classes but I was a frazzled mess.  I paid my tuition and fees and closed up the computer. 

Fast forward to this week.  I remembered that I didn't have my book yet for one of the classes so I sent Amazon some money and they shipped a used copy.  Saved me over $40 so I was happy.  Then, I took a looksie to see that everything was ready and get the scoop on these classes.  I finally found syllabi and I read that I would be using Elluminate for one of the classes.  It's a program that lets everyone in the class hear the instructor and whoever else wants to talk.  I used it last year but on a different computer.  So I had to download that program ---- no, it didn't go smoothly!  Then I wanted to print out the assignments for the other class.  I don't know what happened but the Mister had moved printers around and my computer didn't like the new printer and it took 3 hours to print out 10 class assignments.  I was not a happy camper. 

Now, I've read the assignments and I realize that this class isn't so much about teaching me but about me showing how much I've already figured out on my own.  The class is "Introduction to Educatioanl Technology."  My other class in "Introduction to Oceanography."  I don't know if a computer classroom is for me but it IS paid for..... guess I'll show up.....

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Eagles and Things

We were out yesterday afternoon and got to see two Bald Eagles --- up close!  They were right on the road, one across from the other.  I bet we weren't 20 feet from either one.  They were huge.  We watched them both for a while and then we had to get back to work.  No, I didn't have my camera.  When will I learn?

I am busy sorting kid's books.  I have 14 boxes of brand new books --- cost something like $9000.00.  It's a teacher's dream!  The only thing is that we don't have book shelves. 

I got my book for my oceanography class that I will be starting next week online.  It's paperback, used and it cost me $105 from Amazon.  It was going to be $140-160 new.  It's only about 400 pages.  It sure makes me wonder what books would cost if I ever get to take more than 6 hours.  I'm taking Intro. to Oceanography and Educational Technology this semester.  I want to get my elementary endorsement on my Alaskan certificate.  Only 42 more hours to go!

I am still cooking.  Not happy about it, but I'm doing it.  The kids are great about it.  They eat, they clean up and they ALWAYS come to tell me, "thank you."  I would just much rather be in the classroom all day. 

Also, I am feeling much better.  I took some Ny-Quil Sunday afternoon and slept a lot.  Don't know if I was just tired or what.  Of course, since I slept, nothing much got done as far as putting tubs and boxes away.  I am utterly amazed at how much stuff we sent to Pedro Bay.  My recipes have not shown up.  They were my mom's and my grandma's.  That makes me very sad.  They were treasures to my heart.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


These pics were taken on my way back to Anchorage from Newhalen.  These are mountains between Pedro Bay and Kenai just before we started crossing the Cook Inlet.  The views were simply spectacular!!

We talked to the Girl, the Great-Grandmother and all the Grandparents this weekend.  I used the new phone on G-Mail to call my Grandma this afternoon.  It was great.  It was probably the clearest conversation we've had in a long time.  I tried call Montana this afternoon and the reception wasn't so great --- not sure if it was my computer or their cell phone...  The Girl called on her phone to the school.  We haven't called to put in a phone at the house yet.  It's so expensive to get someone out here and if the school's only going to be open until November... what's the point?  Besides we're supposed to have cell service here sometime in October.  The satellite receiver is already up just across from the school.  However, if the Girl doesn't start skyping us, we're going to have to up our minutes!  We've never gone over on our minutes --- no one seems to really want to talk to us!  But, now with her in Sitka, we may need to re-think our contract.

I refuse to re-read the above paragraph.  If it's poorly written and hard to follow, then just ignore it.

I don't feel well today.  I always wonder what I'm going to pick up from the students every year.  And, of course, what will they pick up from us.  When you live in an isolated place like this, germs seem a lot more important. Really, I think I'm just tired.  And the weather.... I think it makes me hurt, too. 

The Wilburton Grandparents are off in Wyoming this month.  Today they called and we chatted for a while.  They were on their way to eat.  A restaurant.  Hmmmm.... I miss restaurants.  And grocery stores.  I think I'll just go on home.  Not getting much done here anyways and thinking about those things makes my day a lot grayer.  Maybe we'll see a bear at the dump --- that's my date with the Mister nowadays!

Does anyone have a child they could send to Alaska for October?  Our school still needs help!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Through wind and rain, sleet and snow but not fog

I think the mail only come 3 times a week here.  The post office is open the other two days but if you've already gotten your mail..... too bad.  See ya tomorrow!

EXCEPT when there is fog.  Every window has lost its view --- the world has gone white.  I can see to the edge of the parking lot around the school.  I have been here since August 10.  That's 17 days.  More than 10 of those days have been lousy weather.  The villagers say it has been a wet, wet summer.  I'm hoping that it means we will get lots of snow!  The temp is 55 today.

We have finished another week of school.  The kids go from 8:30 to 3:15 everyday except Friday and they get out at 1:55 then.  The Mister and I get to stay and work.... until 4:00.

The Girl called yesterday.  She's taking Algebra I, English II, P.E. / Health, and Integrated Science.  Her first class doesn't begin until 9:40.  She thinks she's in heaven.  They are on a block schedule so her classes are an hour and twenty minutes long.  She wants to take chorus and Chinese, too. I don't know if that will work out or not. 

She has 3 roomates now and seems pretty happy.  This week she ran for student council and class president.  Apparently girls from her dorm nominated her.  She didn't get either one but I think she's making friends.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Supply a child / protect a village

My mind is absolutely swimming.  We have had our superintendent, our itinerant principal, and the district curriculum coach  as well as the itinerant special ed. teacher here all this week.  They have all been great.  They have searched high and low for materials for our students.  They have given us lots of pointers on how to do this job really well.  The Mister and I are feeling pretty good about things now.

The superintendent came to our village because we only have 8 students.  State regulations say we must have 10 students during the official count --- which is about 3 weeks in October.  If we don't find a way to increase our enrollment, the school will close in November.  Students in Pedro Bay will either have to move away or be home-schooled.

When the school closes several things will happen to the people in PB.  One of the main things is that the school will be off the power grid and electricity will skyrocket. People won't be able to afford electricity. 
The culture and village life in this area will die.

We have a health-aid position open here and the church needs a pastor.  Everyone hopes that those positions will be filled by people with families --- large, young families!

Some people are looking into foster care.  Others are calling neices and nephews.  Everyone is out looking for school children.  Anybody wanna come to Alaska?!  Housing is available!

Monday, August 23, 2010

How far is far?

These pics were taken on my way to school the first day.  Gorgeous, huh?

Something that has always amazed me is how big the earth really is.  One way that I am made aware of this is by time zones.  Here in Alaska we have one time zone.  It puts us 3 hours behind the folks in Oklahoma.  But, here is what catches my attention.  The Girl has moved to Sitka so I checked on the weather.  While we have 51 degrees and clear weather, she has 55 degrees and lots of rain for this week.  She's also getting a wind advisory this morning that will last most of today.  Down at the bottom of the page is a list of sunrise and sunset times.  Our sunrise was at 6:51 this morning.  The Girl's sun rose at 5:45.  Tonight it will set at 9:45 here in Pedro Bay.  In Sitka it will set at 8:21.  A difference of about an hour and 25 minutes --- but we're in the same state!  It's a long ways from here to there.

A view from our house.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Growing Up is Hard on Parents

Ten years ago I thought I had lived through the hardest day of my life.  Today at least tied.

The Girl left Pedro Bay this afternoon at 2:30.  The plane came 30 minutes early.  We raced to finish packing and loaded the truck.  We beat the air taxi by a few minutes and so we made a few hurried pictures.  The tears surely did flow and hugs were long. 

Where is she going?  She will attend Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, AK.  It's a state-run boarding school in the southeast part of the state.  If you've taken an Alaskan cruise, you have probably been to Sitka.  It is a beautiful place. 
The school has about 400 students and is well-known for its academics.  The Girl is looking forward to studying Chinese and hopes to be able to participate in the foriegn exchange program. The girl's basketball team won the 3A state championship last year.

Today has brought a lot of changes to our lives.  Even now, after talking with her three times since she arrived in Anchorage, I know she is growing up by leaps and bounds.  Not many 14-year-olds can fly by themselves out of the village, meet complete strangers and then check-in and go through security before boarding their chartered flight.  (Heavens, security scares our whole family and we figured out that at least me and the Mister have flown about 40 flights in the three years since we left Oklahoma!)
I am so proud of her.

The last time I called her was on Skype --- just happened to see that she was online.  She was in the baggage area of the airport in Anchorage.  She said she was bored.  She was getting up her nerve to check-in and go upstairs.

The Boy's take on all of this has been that he is now an only child.  He thinks this is going to be great - no big sister.  No one that he has to share the playstation with!  We think he's going to miss her a great deal.  When I was somewhere around the age of high school --- college, my younger brother informed me that I had had the privilege of having the company of my parents while they were young.  He on the other hand would enjoy them when they had money.
The Boy is getiing neither.  

Friday, August 20, 2010

Close Encounters of the Bear Kind

We went to the dump after dinner last night about 9:00.  Our COD stuff from Wal-Mart came yesterday and we had lots of boxes to take out.  We don't have a school janitor right now so we're taking care of the school trash as well.  It made for a pick-up load. 

We laughed as we headed out.  You get kind of giddy living out here ---- imagine, THEY are paying YOU to live here! The weather was beautiful and there was still plenty of sunshine for our adventure.  We drove up the hill and parked beside the hole where we have been burning our trash.  The Mister threw out the bags and the cardboard boxes and then we decided not to burn it.  We just turned the truck around and headed back the way we had come.  He paused and I told him that we might as well burn it.  So, the Mister got out of the truck and I turned my head to look out the other window.  It wasn't 30 seconds till I felt the truck move and there was a flurry of activity at the driver's door.  Seems the Mister had bent down to light the fire and was reminding himself to stay aware of his surroundings when he looked to see a young brown bear coming down the hill into the dump.  The Mister stood up and hightailed it back to the truck!  We rolled up all the windows and watched.  The bear had run away when he first spotted us but then, sure enough, he came right back down.  He climbed into the small pit and opened up a trash sack.  Someone had put lunchmeat out.  It was amazing to see him go through the bags.  He only opened the ones with food in them.  He left all the paper trash we had set out alone.  No other big bears came so we expect that he is an orphan.  I asked the Mister why he would stay at the dump when just down the road are so many salmon.  His answer was that the other big bears probably wouldn't let him in their territory.

We did eventually make our way out to the salmon pond by the airport.  We only saw a large male as he was going through some grass.  We could only see his back up over the high grass and bushes so I'm just imagining he was huge, too. 

A friend here was out last night.  She and her family saw 7 bears spread over the village area. 

By the way, we have made it through 3 days of school.  I've cooked 3 lunches and no one has died yet.  I am teaching the younger children and the Mister has 6th grade and up.  I have 2 kids, one in kindergarten and the other in third grade.  The Mister has six students.  If we don't find 2 more kids, they will close the school at the end of October.  So sad.  We would be moved to another location.  The students here are very polite and have worked hard this week.  We're enjoying our stay in Pedro Bay.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

She was huge!

The Mister and I went out last night. We left the house at 10:00pm. It was gorgeous --- no rain, few clouds. (It has rained here everyday since we got here last Tuesday. School started and the weather is beautiful!)
We drove towards the airport. It's a three mile loop to the dump, the airport and the post office. We stopped out at the salmon pond. It's the end of the run for them. The red salmon left the Bering Sea and entered Bristol Bay. Then they swam up to Lake Iliamna, which is 90 miles longs and then they came into Pedro Bay. At that point they still had to make their way up the creek to the place where they were born. The water is thick with them. It's amazing. They are a dark but bright red. It is a perfect place for a bear to feast! Last night, after we turned off the motor, we just waited. Then, a face came out of the woods. She entered the water and I about came unglued!!! SHE WAS HUGE! And, she was still a long ways away from the truck. She looked us over --- my camera shrieked --- and then I guess she decided it was okay because she brought out her two cubs. It was a real Alaska experience. One of the cubs even stood up and looked at us. They didn't stay too long, though. It was over pretty quick. We're going back tonight.
The other picture is from our house. We sit up above the playground and look out over Lake Iliamna. The school building is actually over to the right.
Let me just say that my pics don't do this place justice. We are surrounded by mountains. Any direction is breath-taking. We are blessed to get to live here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

School Starts Tomorrow

My classroom is NOT ready. The kitchen is NOT ready. My mind is NOT ready. Can you tell I'm NOT ready?!

Time really does fly here in Pedro Bay. We've been here a week today and absolutely nothing is ready. The house is still a shamble. I have absolutely no idea where all those boxes came from or who sent all those tubs! WHY did I think we needed all that stuff?

The Girl is busy helping me with bulletin boards and moving furniture around. The Boy is helping his dad with trash hauling and he's helping me in the kitchen. My mind is racing and my body is in slow-motion.

We spent a couple of hours yesterday checking in new books for the little kids ---- $9000 worth! It took them 14 boxes to ship it to us. I have NO idea where we're going to put them all. Still, it's a librarian's dream!

A little about the school --- it's like a big square, cut into 3 main sections. Across one end is the gym. It's not full-size but it's nice. Through the middle are the restroom with lockers and showers. Also, the kitchen and storage areas go thru the middle. The other end is cut into 2 classrooms. The school is less than 10 years old and it is very nice. Everything seems to be in good shape and in working order.

I'm off to the kitchen. I'm expecting 1000 pounds of freezer items today on the plane - if the weather clears out. If it doesn't ---- no lunch tomorrow!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wait and then wait some more...

I finally got an email from the Mister. I haven't talked with him since Monday night. Neither one of us now have cell service. Anyway, he was "supposed" to fly out of King Salmon at 12:30 today. He's still not here. It has been a day of wait and see. The Boy and I have been out to the airport twice and sat in the truck for an hour each time. Of course, the scenery is outstanding so it wasn't like we have been suffering. The lesson behind all of this, I think, is that when we travel we should allow a full day to get anywhere. The weather may be fine here but across the lake and down south or across the Cook Inlet and up to Anchorage may be horrible. It's hard to comprehend how a few miles can make such a difference.

Our COD stuff came today from Wal-Mart and our new bedding from Bed, Bath and Beyond. We are some happy campers today! I had almost decided not to go to the post office and then changed my mind at the last minute. We got there with 10 minutes to spare --- on Fridays it closes at 1:00.

It still seems strange to have no store at all. We will have to order out of Anchorage for everything. It does seem like it gets here faster than we ever got stuff in Kasigluk.
The pilot radioed in that Lake Clark Air was landing so there has actually been a 24 hour break here. I drove out to the airport to pick up the Mister. Today (Saturday) I am back in the school as the village youth are using the gym for volleyball and fun. We had a good group of about 10 youth and 5 or 6 adults. Everybody seemed to have a good time.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Basics

Note --- Vacation pics. Mt. Rushmore. It was a beautiful park. We all think everyone should see it if you get a chance. The Girl says it's much smaller than it looks in movies.
Message for the day:
Hot water. Food. Blankets. Pillows. Oh, the comforts of life!!! Now we have them, too. Late yesterday afternoon the Girl said to me, "Mom, these windows were open when we came in yesterday. Do you want to check the windows over at the other apartment?" Now remember that allllll our stuff that had been shipped was stacked up over in that other apartment. I said, "Yeah!!!" So my children learned how to take a screen off and crawl through a window to get into an apartment. We were soooo happy!
We opened every tub and finally found 2 pillows, pillowcases, a fitted sheet and a blanket. Oh, we found a camping pillow, too. It was wonderful. We all 3 crawled into the big bed and crashed. The Boy told me it was the best rest he had had since we got here. I reminded him it was only our second night and he insisted it was still the best. We do all feel better this morning after a better night of rest.

We went to the post office this morning. We still about 8 tubs to pick up. The mail lady was very nice and gave directions to the church and the dump.
We drove the loop (3miles) again just to see the salmon and maybe a bear ---- no bears today but the salmon are HUGE!!!! They are deep red/orange and actually look goldfish in the water. There are so many, too. It was hard to imagine how many fish there could be in such a small body of water and having seen it ---- it's still hard to believe! The water is just thick with fish.

The Mister will be home tomorrow. We are all ready for him to return. We feel lost without him. It will be a happy day for us all.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We're in Pedro Bay

We left Anchorage yesterday at 3:15 and arrived in Pedro Bay an hour later. Rebecca (school board member), her son and another lady met us at the airport. We got everything up to the teacher housing and then turned around and they left us by ourselves. We were exhausted.

The apt. was hot so we turned down the heat. Big mistake. It was on a timer. Then we could only get into our "empty" apartment and the itinerant apartment next door. The keys wouldn't work on the the other big apartment where all our stuff has been stored. AUGGGHHH.... no bedding, no towels, no food (besides what we had brought in on the plane) and then no hot water. We put away what little we brought with us and went to bed. THEN we woke up to a sound like someone was banging on the whole house. That has happened several more times --- I think it might be the furnace. Still scared us, though.

This place is gorgeous. The mountains are right here on us. The lake is just below us. The trees are plentiful and everything is sooooo green. The school is relatively new and simply wonderful. It really is nice.

In case I didn't put this on facebook ---- I will be the new cook for the school. That means cooking for about 10 students and then some elders, too. I will be teacher aide in the afternoons. I've signed up to take 6 hours this fall to work on my teacher certification. We have spent a good portion of today working in the kitchen. Dry goods were already here. Freezer stuff will arrive any day now.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The End is Near

Summer is over. We've spent all our money. We drove 13,000 miles in 65 days. We saw Custer's Last Stand, Mt. Rushmore, Kansas City, Grandparents, the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Reno, the Giant Redwoods, the pacific ocean and beaches, Portland, Seattle, drove the Cassiar Highway, the Alaskan Highway and a lot of Alaska. It was a whirlwind for sure.

The mister is at new teacher orientation. Tomorrow they fly to Katmai Lodge which is across from Kodiak Island for teacher in-service. The kids and I will fly to Pedro Bay tomorrow -- Tuesday. The principal flew in last weekend and turned the power on for us. He left the truck at the airport with the key above the dash. It's a 3 mile loop around the village --- it will fun looking for our new house!

I am now the school cook. I will cook 3 1/2 hours a day and then teacher aide for 4 hours. There are only 5-6 students we think .... so we may only be in PB until the end of October.

I'm out of power. More later.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Catching up

Blogging sounded like a lot of fun when we left Oklahoma 3 years ago. I thought our adventures would be something our friends would enjoy reading and it would help keep us all connected in some way. Blogging is difficult. What seems like it would be tremendously interesting to "outsiders" (that's what Alaskans call everyone who lives "outside" the Alaskan border) always sounds boring to me and after a while, everything becomes mundane and I can't imagine anyone really wanting to read my jabbering.

I've decided to pick up writing again. It may or may not be earth shattering news but it will help me keep up with my life. I have had to abandon my former blog: due to password issues. It's still up --- I suppose things that we post on the internet will always be up.... I don't see any reason to try and take it down.

This blog should help you catch up with us.

Last May, (2010), we left Akula (Kasigluk), Alaska after working there for three years. We were sad to move but circumstances just wouldn't let us stay. We flew to Anchorage on May 21 and on the 25 we drove west to Tok. The drive out the Alaskan highway was absolutely gorgeous. We drove through Edmonton and Calgary, then into the US and we came through WY, MT, NB, KS and down to OK. We spent the month of June in Wilburton. We camped out at Robber's Cave State Park and visited with Grandma and PaPa. Doctor and dentist appointments were met. We spent July 4 in southeast OK and on the 5, we drove to OKC. After a week with the relatives there we were on our way west.

We drove I-40 out to Amarillo and then on to the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. We saw the Grand Canyon. We drove on to Vegas --- drove our 37' fifth wheel down the strip and saw the fountains at the Bellagio! Reno was our next destination --- on the way we had 119 degrees ---- that was HOT! We left the desert and set out across California. Did you know that the roads with yellow highlighter don't mean "better" but rather, "scenic"? We do..... now. Anyway, we did see some beautiful Pondersosa Pines. We made it to Red Bluff just south of Redding and then we took another "scenic" drive to the coast.

That was yesterday. My kids went wild when they saw the water. They say it has been the best part of the trip. They love the beaches --- even though it's freezing. We all say the 60 degree weather is fine with us!

Today we drove north on 101. It follows the coast all the way up to Canada. We got just across the CA/OR border and a fatal accident had set a wildfire on both sides of the highway. We had to turn around and drive south to Brookings. Hopefully we will drive north again in the morning.

The future: We have to be in Anchorage by Aug. 2. I've messed up my knee so I need to see a doctor before we go out to the village. The Mister has meetings starting on Aug. 5. We are going to Pedro Bay. It's on Lake Iliamna. Everyone tells us it is really pretty there. It's a very small school ----- more on that later.

Okay.... so a new blog.... a new school year.... a new start.....