Posted by: aliaskaadventures | December 16, 2012

Whales!

Humpbacks spouting off the coast of Price of Wales. Sorry, no pictures.

One guy laughed as we jumped up to see and he stayed seated. “Seen one, seen ’em all,” he said. I think it will be a long time before I see enough to feel that way.

Here are pictures of the mountains, though. The snow level is creeping down.

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Posted by: aliaskaadventures | December 16, 2012

Go Miss Chiefs!

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Tim’s girls basketball team has had four games in the last four days. Phew! The first two were at home against Prince Rupert. It was my first time keeping the official scorebook, and I was nervous. Then the ref came up and asked me, “Who’s singing the anthem? Which anthem are we singing? American? Canadian?” That had never crossed my mind before! The girls won both those games, and everyone played well.

The next two games were in Ketchikan against the Kayhi JV team. Wow, that team has got a press that flustered our girls at first. Once they learned how to break through it, though, they did great. They were down by fourteen at the end of the third quarter and came back to lose by only one point 51-50. Intense!

In the second game, they led for well over half the game. It was so exciting! The end of the game didn’t go as well as we’d hoped. Ketchikan stole the lead in the last seven seconds, 37-36.

These girls are so great. We have eleven on the team, and they are cheerful and friendly. They can sleep anywhere as log as they have a blanket and a pillow buddy. They don’t carry grudges between the classes. They hold their heads high. Last night, on our way back to the school after dinner, they all sang Taylor Swift’s “Never Getting Back Together,” all hooting horribly out of tune and then giggling. I wanted to scoop them all up into one big hug right then.

20121216-111908.jpgWe’re headed home on the ferry right now, and it’s snowing sideways (well, it was when I wrote that, not anymore when I took the picture!). I’m glad we can sit inside. I’m amazed there aren’t big waves making it a rough ride. The girls are either sleeping or working on homework.

Our next games are right after Christmas, the Clark Cochrane Tournament again in Ketchikan. I guess it’s a pretty big deal with a lot of schools. It should be fun!

Posted by: aliaskaadventures | December 11, 2012

Good Morning

The tide is high and the sun is shining. Beautiful.

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Posted by: aliaskaadventures | December 10, 2012

Henry and the Raven

While Henry and I were in Ketchikan on Monday, a raven was very curious about Henry. It would hop along behind him and then jump up and float if Henry ever turned around. Then it would land and resume hopping. Very strange! Henry thought it was a fun game.

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Posted by: aliaskaadventures | November 15, 2012

Book Club

We had our first book club meeting of the year on Tuesday–and it was actually my first book club meeting ever! I’ve been saying since I was in college that I want to be in a book club. I think it’s because I missed late-night conversations in the coffee shop about about philosophies, writing styles, and deeper meaning. This didn’t quite match that, but considering I’m ten years out of college, that’s probably a good thing. I’m not sure I could stay awake through a late-night philosophical discussion anymore!

After our book talk, we hung out for a bit. I learned things about people I never suspected, things like cancer survival. It was nice to get to know people better. I did get a little uncomfortable with all the talk of the flu, though. Apparently, every class in the elementary school has had multiple kids throw up in the classroom. The middle school basketball coach went to the ER after one of their games, and I guess half the team has the flu now too. I hate the flu! Hope I don’t get it…

Posted by: aliaskaadventures | November 14, 2012

We B(r)ought a Zoo

As it’s storming like crazy outside, the dog is obsessing about one cat, the other cat is chewing on the phone charger, and Tim says, “I want a pet hedgehog.” Great, that’s just what we need to complete our indoor island zoo!

Posted by: aliaskaadventures | November 13, 2012

Mourning

There have been twelve deaths in this little community since the school year started. I don’t think even a week has passed without a funeral. My heart goes out to the people, and I feel horribly helpless. What can I do? I don’t even personally know most of the people. I’m sure I’m viewed as an outsider to the extreme–a non-local who isn’t even a teacher. I just try not to intrude. I hope this black cloud lifts soon.

Posted by: aliaskaadventures | November 9, 2012

After All This Time

I should’ve known this would happen–I’ve never been a very strong journaler, and I always hit dry spells. It’s not for lack of things to say, it’s just for lack of the discipline to write them down.

The last couple months have been a whirlwind. I’m very proud of the cross-country runners, as they gave it their best shot. I had to miss their final two meets due to a business trip. When they called me before their regional race, I honestly teared up. Yep, I’m a sap. When I got back into town, a middle school team had magically formulated, and the athletic director asked me to coach it. The season was very short, and we only had one meet, but they did fantastic! Our lead boy placed fifth, and the lead girl placed sixth. They all ran the whole race without stopping (except one, who fell and was unable to finish), which was a huge improvement over their first practice with me a week before.

After that, I had another month-long business trip. I just arrived back in Metlakatla on Monday evening, and I’m trying to get settled into the rhythm of the town again. I forget that businesses close early, and I tried to pay our internet bill at 4:30 today, only to learn that the office closes at 4:00. I brought the cats this time, and I remembered to pack/order litter boxes and litter, but I forgot to bring a litter scoop. Of course, it’s impossible to buy one on the island, so we’ll be making do with a slotted spoon. The whole experience of living in a remote area is an exercise in patience and resourcefulness. It’s also a reminder to slow down, breathe, and be grateful for what you have.

The house will not fall apart if you can’t scoop litter. If I learn nothing else in my time here, I have learned this.

Posted by: aliaskaadventures | October 27, 2012

Tsunami!

I’ve been in Oregon for business stuff. Kristin and I went to Word Round Up! in Pendleton and fought crazy high winds and rain the whole drive home. Finally, we arrive in Portland and I drop Kristin off and then notice that Tim has left me a voicemail. I soon find out that there is a tsunami warning in Alaska. Tim is in Ketchikan, but Henry (our dog) is at Beth’s house on the island. Metlakatla has been evacuated. Panicky, I rush home and turn on the Portland news but find nothing. I find a website with updates and obsessively click refresh. Finally, it tells me a four-inch wave was measured in Craig, which means Met’s wave was probably about an inch.

On a side note, how is a four-inch tsunami wave even measured? How do they know it’s not just a whale splashing around?

Posted by: aliaskaadventures | August 31, 2012

Fishing

I got to go fishing! The Erbeldings are teachers who have been here for six years, and they have a great boat. It’s a good size for fishing, and they can even make trips to Ketchikan and back without having to rely on the ferry–in good weather, at least.

Anyway, Rob Erbelding was taking the boat out to fish for Coho, and I got invited to go. Unfortunately, it was a slow afternoon and hardly anything bit, but it was still really fun! TJ, the athletic director, got a bite on his pole and let me reel it in. It was really exciting, but it spit the hook out just as it surfaced. I was devastated!

But we did see two humpback whales. And we dragged in a kelp crab on a bunch of seaweed that accumulated on the line.

I hope we get to go fishing again soon–and catch something! I’m already all prepared with my Food Saver and deep freezer set up. Let’s fill thatsucker up with salmon!

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