Archive for category Year of Yup’ik

I Will Not Play Your Chinese Food Mind Games

Posted by on Saturday, 6 December, 2008

There is no real content today. Today, silverspiral productions brings you an incomplete post that was written some time last year! While we were still in Alaska! And the baby was still breastfed!


I had plans. I had things to discuss.

I idea what the heck was going on this week.

The High School Graduation Exam is this week. Which I get to proctor to the kids who get accommodations and modifications.

And I had forgotten all about it.

So, this morning was spent frantically redoing my schedule so that my aide could do it – and still be able to cover all three of my intensive needs kids and all of their aides, then running to find my keys, then running back to get my computer, then ducking into the only room in the school I can actually hide in to pump in (pumping! thats what I wanted to talk about! Well, that, and being attacked by rabid weasels. Which are really more or less the same thing), then to pick up the tests, which cannot leave my hands once i pick them up, then to find my kids – 2 out of 3 missing in action, then to administer the darn thing, which is more boring than you would ever guess.

And then?

Kid 2 finally strolls in.

Im sorry. Let me rephrase that.

Kid 2 bursts into the library, disturbing everyone in there, which was about 8 kids, yelling and calling out to them. Because he thinks he’s cool.

He totally isnt. No matter how baggy his pants are, I am still cooler than him.

And Im not cool.

And this is a really boring story.

Basically, he sucked, talked alot, refused to take his test, i kicked him out, the principal brought him back and convinced him to actually take the darn thing – then he walked off campus after lunch and wasnt allowed back on.


i really have no idea where this story was going, either. more testing? more about kid 2? more about why im cool? possibly more about pumping and how every single guy on staff (all three of them) managed to walk in on me pumping at one time or another? and how NO WOMEN, even though we greatly outnumbered the guys on staff, ever did? weird, isnt it?

One Fish, Two Fish

Posted by on Sunday, 24 August, 2008

I tried to read What to Expect When You’re Expecting while I was pregnant. I got as far as being lectured about my diet, and how to “with every bite of food you take, ask yourself, is this the best bite for my baby?” at which point I got a stabbing pain behind my eye which could only be soothed by cheesecake.* I never finished reading it.

I never made it to childbirth classes. They told you not to bother taking them until you were 36 weeks along. At 36 weeks, I was in the hospital with kidney stones and early labor.

I didnt get to send Brandus out at all hours of the night for whatever bizarre food combination I was craving.**

I missed alot of things, or did them a different way, when i was pregnant with Voldemort. I want to do it again?

That’s where Brandus and I are right now – discussing future evil dictators to be added to our lives. I want to adopt. Brandus wants to adopt. Later.

I would love, right now, to be able to say that we’re discussing things with an agency for international adoption, or older child domestic adoption.

I want another baby.

I dont want to be pregnant.

Brandus wants another baby.


I understand his reasoning – adoptions can take months or years, he wants the dark lordling to be a little older before looking at adopting an older child (by which i mean, not adopting a baby), he doesnt want to go through the insanity (waiting, heartbreak) of having to be put on a list and chosen by a mother giving up her baby, he wants us to adopt for the right reasons.

But, truly, i have no interest in being pregnant again. I did it, i experienced it, im over it. Some women love being pregnant, but great zombie jesus, am I not one of them.

I was seasick for 4 months straight. I threw up ALL THE TIME. Anywhere. No matter how long it had been since Id eaten, or what I’d eaten, or how much ginger I munched. Throughout, nothing tasted good, everything was gross, most of my favorite foods made me gag, i can now barely eat pizza – the very thought gives me heartburn. Everything hurt, i was tired all the time, and all those women who say that the baby kicking feels like butterfly wings or fish blinking or whatever are BIG FAT LAIRS, because I always just felt like I had gas. and let’s not even talk about the joy that is calling your doctor, being told to come in, as you’re having multiple braxon hicks contractions that arent stopping, flying 600 miles for $1700 for both of you, only to get there and have the doctor on call mock you for coming all that way for nothing.

and yes, MOCKED. the nurse was even shocked as to how he was acting.

and then there’s the kidney stones, and the early labor, and the stay in labor and delivery, and then an insanely fast labor (once again with the asshole doctor RIGHT THERE) with my husband NOT THERE, and my mother getting to see the baby before I did.

Do I really want to go through that again?

And yes, I know that there are tons of things that happened last time that wouldnt happen again – because im not in the middle of fucking nowhere, for one thing, but..

I told Brandus when Voldemort was born, that I probably wasnt going to have another. I havent changed my mind, 16 months later.

We’ve had two close brushes with adoption during these past few months, and for me, that’s enough to get me motivated on it. Let’s go, let’s apply, let’s put our names down for a foster/adopt program, let’s pick a country…

Ironic, isnt it? We both want the same thing, but have very different ways of getting there.

Maybe we should get a hamster, instead.

**I was cheated out of this one, I swear.


Posted by on Saturday, 16 August, 2008

So, not only has Pants succeeded in abandoning my cat to the wild, it has also killed my ferret. AWESOME. LOVE YOU TOO.

a different family – a completely different family. a family that works for the school, and all they had to do was FEED HIM and occasionally let him run around the empty classroom.

evidentially, they released him into the wild, too. and then yesterday his body was found on the boardwalk.


Indoor Only

Posted by on Sunday, 10 August, 2008

Im really struggling right now.

when we left alaska, I made the very difficult decision to let a family who was very eager and, it seemed, loving, adopt my cat, Una. i made the decision because Una needed to be in a one cat household. she needed somewhere that would accept her tendency to hide and be skittish, and most importantly, she needed to not be further traumatized by traveling thousands of miles.

the family approached us. i talked to them, i introduced them to Una, i explained her sensitivity. i took a solid week to think it over and say goodbye and get her settled into a new family.

they nodded and smiled and petted her, and seemed perfectly thrilled to get such a loving cat.

i found out about a month ago that they didnt have her anymore. they didnt like her tendency to hide, so they gave her to someone else.

they gave her to someone who i wouldnt trust to take care of a plant, much less a cat.

i found out today that the new family let her go.

they just…sent her outside. in a village where feral dogs roam, they let my indoor only, very sensitive, very skittish, very confused cat, they LET HER OUT.

i dont even know if she’s being FED, i dont know if she’ll survive the next couple of months, much less the winter, where it routinely gets to 40 below. some of the kids say they’ve seen her haunting our old house, and i hope she is. because i know my neighbor will bring her in if she sees her.

she’s my BABY. i cried for quite a while after giving her away, and i still get sad when i think about giving her away, but THIS. This is like a kick in the gut.

i am devastated. i feel responsible. i feel like we should have made a different choice, should have found a different way to find her a new home. a home where i thought she would be taken care of, and loved, and get plenty of attention.

i feel awful.


One Day More

Posted by on Sunday, 18 May, 2008

Tomorrow, we will head to the post office. We will mail off many boxes. We will cancel our PO Box, forward our mail, give away anything extra we have.

On Tuesday, we will pack anything left to pack, zip up our suitcases, and say goodbye.

Tomorrow is our last day as bush Alaskans. After tomorrow, we’ll be back to a world with cell phones and roads and cars. After tomorrow, Voldemort will leave the only home he’s known, and we’ll head off to a world where we dont have jobs or a place to live, yet.

Goodbye, Alaska. It’s been quite a trip.


Posted by on Tuesday, 25 March, 2008

Dear Babysitter-of-the-week,

I realize we have had some communication mishaps! Perhaps we should go and examine each misunderstanding!

For example, when I said, The baby can have one container of babyfood a day, and some of these neat finger food crackers with a baby on the front of the package,

I did NOT mean, Please stuff my baby full of this yummy allergen-risky peanut butter!

And, when I said, You can’t take the baby to your house,

or even, The baby needs to stay here,

or EVEN I understand that you took him to your house today, thank you for telling me. Please don’t take him, again.

I did NOT, in fact, mean, Please take my child out into the cold weather OF ALASKA in god-knows-what clothes for god-knows-how-long to get to YOUR HOUSE, where my husband and I have never even seen.

I understand your confusion! These things could happen to anybody!

I mean, after all, I know you know that it’s not ok to let OTHER PEOPLE’S KIDS into our house “to play” or “to visit” before school starts after we’ve left! I mean, WHO WOULD DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

But, there is ONE MORE TINY misunderstanding we need to clear up.

When we welcomed you into our house to babysit, and told you Feel free to use the television. Here are all of our movies. Adjust the temperature to your comfort level!,

at no point EVER did I mean OR say, Feel free to use my computer.

Nor did I say, Be sure to let the child rip off some of the keys! He LOVES that game!,

and I FOR DAMN SURE never said, After the child has ripped off the keys, be sure and close the keyboard and pretend it never happened! Don’t feel the need to tell me!

Because there is NOTHING I like more than coming home, opening my laptop and noticing that FIVE KEYS HAVE SPONTANEOUSLY DISAPPEARED.

Now, we’ve got those silly little misunderstandings taken care of! Let’s go over one more thing, ok?

When I say, We’re going to hire our old babysitter back,

I mean, The girl who stays with an abusive jackass at least knows how to follow our rules and respect our stuff.

Is that clear enough? I can draw you a picture, if that will help.

Please, let me know. By which I mean, WHAT THE FUCK, LADY.


Tragedy Aplenty

Posted by on Thursday, 20 March, 2008

The past couple of months in the village have been a little tense.

In February, right about the time the kid and I were headed back into the village from town after my kidney stone mishap (and, incidentally, after I took my babysitter to the airport to flee from her boyfriend who hit her AND THEIR BABY with a beer bottle), one drunk kid took a gun to the head of another drunk young man.

The village was stunned. The school was full of grieving kids and people and teachers.

The kid who was killed was my aide’s son.

A few weeks go by, and things are lightening up. We have potlatch, people joke and laugh. The village starts to heal.

Last week, another young man shot himself.

He was my aide’s nephew.

He had 3 kids, including one who is barely two weeks old.

The village, again, is devastated – but this time, there’s an edge to it.

“Oh, this again? This family again? Why must they make such a fuss about things?”

The kids talk about cleaning up the blood, and what both bodies looked like.

Last night, my babysitter called. She’s back in the village, and isnt it great that she and this guy who’s hit her 4 times before that I know of are going to work things out. And do we still need a babysitter?

Today, unbeknownst to me, one of my students tried to commit suicide. The timeline and the method are both still unknown, as he was at school at least part of the day, but we do know he’s ok, and going to town tomorrow for evaluation.

Winter out here is hard – harder in many ways than winter in the lower 48. Many of the men dont work, because they mostly fish and hunt, and there isnt much they can do in winter besides drink. February tends to being out the worst in everyone. Maybe its the lack of a break between Christmas and Easter. Maybe its just that it’s been too dark for too long.

We’re well into March, now.

Can it be over now, please?

Homeward Bound

Posted by on Sunday, 6 January, 2008

Brandus and I have been discussing (and discussing and discussing) and we decided quite a while ago that this was to be our last year in Pants, Alaska. We’re tired of village life. We’re tired of not being able to order pizza. We’re tired of having to spent an obscene amount of money to get Lord Voldemort to the doctor when he gets sick.

So, the question on everyone’s mind (and really, everyones. My parents, his parents, my sisters, the cats..) has been, “where are you going?”

Good question.

We talked about it – endlessly. Staying in Alaska in town for another year, moving to Washington State, moving to the South, moving somewhere random in between so long as it wasnt Kansas…good points and bad points to everything.

However! We have, in fact, picked a state. We just need a town.

Anybody know anything about coastal North Carolina?

Where the Balmy Breezes Blow

Posted by on Wednesday, 2 January, 2008

-In Donegal, Ireland, up in the Gaeltacht, there is a tiny cove, about a mile down the road from Teac Jack’s in Gweedore. When the tide is in, you can barely see anything except for a few rocks, about a hundred feet out, standing up out of the water. When the tide is out, you can stand on the topmost rock and look down almost 20 feet into the water. The wind is so strong, you can barely hold anything in your hands – it might get ripped away. If you look back at the land behind you, you feel miles away from civilization.

-Off the Isle of Capri in Italy, you can get in a tiny boat with oars and be rowed to a tiny hole in the side of a cliff. The man in the boat will drop his oar, catch hold of a chain across the opening, the tide will go UP and then DOWN and he PULLS and you duck, your head clearing the opening by inches. Inside, it seems pitch black, and all you can hear is some quiet splashing, and the sound of the oarsmens’ voices as they sing in Italian. “Turn around,” your oarsman says, and you turn and behind you, the sea is glowing deep blue, lit up from below. It’s like you could reach and scoop up some of the water, and still have it glow in your hands. Supposedly, during the spring, sometimes the oarsmen let you get out and swim in The Blue Grotto.

-Growing up, I spent weeks and weeks in North Carolina during the summer. Asheville, Brevard, Montreat, Black Mountain..I love Buncombe county. I went to camp every year from the time I was 8 until I was 18 in Brevard. I went to Montreat with youth group. My boyfriend at the time lived in the Asheville area part of the time we were dating. When I was in high school, I spent practically the whole summer in that area.

There’s something about North Carolina. The trees, maybe. Or the smell. More than Georgia, sometimes, it’s home.

No Frontsies Backsies

Posted by on Saturday, 17 November, 2007

Ive spent today composing blog posts, which of course means that i dont remember anything pithy or clever or deep that i wanted to say.


I remember wanting to write a post about the things I remember as a kid. Like Natalie trying to teach me to roller skate or Melisa faking a dentist appointment for both of us when our parents were out of town to get us out of school.

One wondering what Voldemort will think about the fact he was born in Alaska, and spent a year living with the natives in a fishing village. When he wonder about his babysitter and her baby, the little girl he spends almost every day with? Will he wonder about me living there, if he ever hears me bitching about snow?

One telling the ‘verse about the weird dreams Ive been having, that Im pretty sure are related to the stomach bug that slayed me – one where I had antlers, and one with oragimi horses – not horses made of paper, mind, but horses that you could FOLD and ARRANGE.

One all about the horror that is having the stomach flu while dealing with an almost seven month old who has the stomach flu.

One about my laundry, which was directly related to the stomach flu post, and should probably be incorporated into that one to save time.

One about the song we sing to Griffin ALL THE TIME. Which is from this video:

And that, folks, wraps up another pointless post from me.

Dairy Queen

Posted by on Friday, 2 November, 2007

So, I have a baby. This is a pretty well established fact here.

This baby, he is breastfed. Exclusively.

I work during the day, which means the child must to take a bottle.

In order to give a bottle, the child, he must have milk to go in this bottle.

This is a longwinded, annoying way for me to explain that while at work, I must produce this milk for the child to have in the bottle.

Which means pumping.


Now, I work in a school. Schools are generally known for random closets or at least the occasional office that you would be able to close yourself into behind a nice cooperative locked door in order to do this fun thing. However, my school mocks that idea by having absolutely no rooms without windows that lock, and no offices i could borrow. The counselor has an office, and she would be more than willing to loan it to me, but there are students who insist on KNOCKING AND KNOCKING AND KNOCKING until i cannot do this thing because my nerves are shot to hell and im twitching.

So, the only room which is available is the conference room in the library.

Which is usually fine. The librarians know where i am and what im doing, and they dont care.

The PROBLEM is that the video conferencing equipment is in the same room, and there are sometimes conferences planned.

So, Im sitting. With my back to the door and the camera, because Im not insane, when I hear it.



“Just a second!!”

*keys rattle*


And then? There is my principal. My very conservative principal.

And Im sitting there nearly topless wearing nothing but a couple of suction cups.

It gets better, believe it or not.

After he ducks back out again, apologizing and muttering, the camera turns on.

“Is this thing on? Kotlik, are you there?”



Posted by on Wednesday, 10 October, 2007

The child has been experiencing much firsts lately.

Like, his first severe double ear infection! What a joyous occasion for us! Especially when he is running an 105 degree fever, and we’re 500 miles from decent medical care!

A quick trip to Anchorage was in store – so quick, I didnt even pack my computer.

If you know me, you know this is something i NEVER DO.

I would take my computer in to the bathroom with me if I thought a)Brandus wouldnt mock and b)it might not get wet.

So, a quick fun jaunt off to Anchorage later, where the screamy unhappy HOT child was injected directly with an antibiotic, due to the severity of the infections. Also, the doctor warned me his eardrums might pop so his ears could drain, and to try not to freak out.

they didnt, so we didnt have to test my inability to follow that direction.

Less than 12 hours later, i had a completely DIFFERENT CHILD. I hadnt realized how very off he was until he was back on his game.

He’s feeling much better now, but I would like to lodge a formal complaint with the Maker for giving me a child with a broken warning system. Ears should be pulled! Crying should occur specifically when lying down and nursing! Not this SUDDENLY IM SCREAMING BUT IM ALSO DROOLING MAYBE IM TEETHING BUT IM NOT TELLING that was going on.


The Dark Lordling did try to make it up to me today though. He called me “Mama.”

Kiss ass.

Destroy All Humans

Posted by on Thursday, 18 January, 2007

I really hope this is a pregnancy related phase where I hate everyone and they all suck because they’re STUPID, but based on the fact I wasnt the only teacher twitching at the end of the day, Im concerned that its because all people suck and are stupid.


I think everyone was possessed today. I came very close to actually picking up and shaking a 6 year old, and I wasnt the only one..there were several entertaining ideas about the uses of duct tape going around today. And that’s not counting the 4, count ‘em, 4 high schoolers that got suspended/in major trouble. Like, the normally easy going kid who called her teacher a retard. Or the kid who slugged a girl at recess, and NOBODY SAW IT. No, not one. And they all are STICKING to this story.



Posted by on Sunday, 12 November, 2006

You know, I dont think people realize how strange life can be.

Life, when you have to wait 24 hours to get chinese take out from a town 150 miles away, which is where the closest chinese place is.

because they have to fly it to you.

and you figure $20 per person is not an outrageous price to ask for such a treat.

my life is SO weird.


Posted by on Sunday, 29 October, 2006

Sorry for the distraction and the lack of being here, but what can i say about life in rural Alaska? Its cold, it snows, which is better than the ice, because i dont wind up on my ass.

the kids are cool, although things are pretty different up here.

“what’s the capital of the united states?”

um..not quite…

i AM pregnant, which is somewhere between wildly entertaining and OMGHELP. it was planned, we have been trying for about a year, but we didnt exactly expect to get up here to the middle of nowhere and suddenly discover that i was pregnant! im about 14 weeks along today, and according to the doctor and books and people who have done this before, the crippling nausea should go away ANY DAY NOW.

also, it seems my contact page is being weird..hmm. anyway, feel free to email me at alianoraATgmailDOTcom, and i promise ill try to be better about updating.

I’m Not Right, I’m Not Fine

Posted by on Sunday, 3 September, 2006

I totally neglected to mention that we did make it to Alaska, and that, so far, we like it.

There is definitely some culture shock going on, especially involving the dead moose currently outside, ignoring that rather grisly example.

Town is cool, but very small, and the boardwalks are interesting..especially because many of the boards need to be replaced. And so, several of them sag alarmingly when you step on them. But if the 4 wheelers dont collapse through, im guessing we should be ok.

However, this post really has nothing to do with Alaska. This post has to do with music.

My favorite band’s, Sister Hazel, newest album is available for preorder, and here’s a link. Please to click it.

Packing In

Posted by on Thursday, 27 July, 2006

We have spent the last four days doing nothing but packing.

Packing to ship to Alaska.

Packing to store.

Packing crap we dont want anymore into boxes for donation, or bags for trash.

We have two weeks left.

And by tonight, I wont even have a bed anymore. *cries* Tonight is the only time Brandus’s friend Dave can bring his truck down and help us. So, the bed, the dresser, the coffee table..everything that I cant possibly lift or help move will be gone by tonight.

Air mattress. Yay.

The Post That Says Nothing

Posted by on Sunday, 25 June, 2006

I have been struggling with what to do with Silverspiral. As really, the only things that go through my head lately are related to running around in circles about Alaska, television/movies/fandom, and hatred of all things politicians are doing.

and i dont want this to be a political blog, and i have the livejournal for all things fandom.

so, what does that leave for over here?

Im not sure yet, but i get the feeling its going to be random stories about not much for a while…at least until we get to Alaska. then all bets are off.

so, just for fun, have some linkspam of cool things.

I have spent entirely too long watching all 15 parts of The Jim and Pam Story, which is basically all the Jim/Pam clips from both seasons of The Office. I dont watch The Office, because Michael makes me homicidal, so this was a wonderful way to keep up with the good stuff.

if anyone knows how to download off of youtube, so i can rewatch them over and over without them having to load EVERY SINGLE TIME, please to let me know.

Looking for something a bit different? Tom Riddle’s Magical Diary is both fascinating and freaky. did i mention freaky?

Best Homemade Lightsaber Duel Ever. Just what it says. Ive rewatched this several times, and i kinda have a crush on Michael the Dorkman.

For Dance geeks like me, Im sure you’ve all seen the Hogwarts Dance Team, but have you seen The Pirates of the Caribbean Dance Competition? Featuring Captain Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann. and a very very small pirate who owns my heart.

This? As a news story? WINS AT THE UNIVERSE. it makes me GIDDY, it makes me so happy. SHE IS A SUPERHERO. THE ENTIRE CITY HELPED!

UnHuh, UnHuh

Posted by on Tuesday, 4 April, 2006

I added a new catagory to the site, Year of Yup’ik, to go along with posts of the planning for Alaska, as well as the actual year we will be up there.

To make a long story slightly shorter, brandus interviewed at the large teaching hiring fair up here at the University of Northern Colorado. He interviewed with about fourteen districts, including one in Florida, one in Virgina, and the Lower Yukon School District in Alaska.

The pay is very good, and the chance to live in Alaska for a year, in a town of mostly Yup’ik peoples was too exciting to pass up.

And then, as they were drawing up his contract, they asked about family. He mentioned I was a sped, and they offered me a job on the spot, without ever having met me other than over the phone.

I went in to talk to them, brandus and i discussed it, and with the money and the opportunity, we decided to go.

We will be living in the town of Kotlik, Alaska, which has about 200 students. About 15 of those are kids with special needs, so I have a very small caseload.

Im nervous about going back to teaching, but this will be completely different from anything else Ive ever done.

We’re both really excited, and we have so much to do before we leave in August.

Plans and budgeting and concerns will be posted throughout in the planning stages. After that, I would like to keep a really good record of the experience.

Feel free to ask anything that occurs to you, and I will try to answer. Right now, we have about fifteen questions that we will be emailing off to our principal soon, so anything that i havent considered would be appreciated.

Further details forthcoming.