Sunday, January 24, 2010

Do Not Taunt The Bears

Just kidding. This is what happens when you have a bag of stuff bungee corded to the back of a snowmachine and it gets sucked over the side into the track. Sad looking stuff.

The next day I found my pair of gloves and spare belt on my morning commute to Napaskiak. The rest of the things must have blown away in the wind. Ah well, not a big deal. Time to get a new backpack though.

I'm liking the daily commute over this spell. I get up and buzz down to Napaskiak, then I head across river to Oscarville (home of the Hornets) for an after school class, then back to Bethel where a little dog is happy to see me.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ode to Winter Break

So usually I'm relaying the Alaska experiences for the friends in the Lower 48, and it's mostly old hat for my friends in Alaska to read. The tables have turned, and fellow LKSDers and whoever else, this one is for you. You, and the loved ones I didn't get a chance to visit on this trip.

I got into Wisconsin on the 20th with no troubles other than missing 2 buses (by a minute each, dang it!) and having a cold. A bit delayed, it was so nice to see Mom and Dad waiting to pick me up at the bus stop. Also, it felt really good to bust my pickup out of the storage shed and drive it on down the open highway. When you teach drivers ed, and only get to drive Bethel's 15 miles, then putting on miles feels pretty relaxing and nice just to watch the windshield change. I did manage to get a few miles behind me over this break.

First I had to go hand-to-hand combat with that cold. I pretty much had it's tail whipped by the time Christmas came around, and good thing too. There was plenty of energy needed for the 2 days of family fun with all the kids. I couldn't believe how much my niece and nephews had grown and changed from last time I spent time with them. They are really starting to take on their own very unique personalities. Even the youngest, who is 1, has got an interesting way about him. Another really neat thing was seeing some of my cousins I haven't seen in quite a while. And aunts and uncles. Grandma. The whole family is doing great.

Other than that, random highlights of this journey, in no particular order:

-Going to three Badger hoops games with Dad. Wisconsin tradition never ends, and neither does Bucky taking care of business on the home court. The thrashing of Ohio State was particularly sweet.

-Heading north to my old home area, having some good outdoor fun with old friends. Even though we struck out on the ice fishing, it was really refreshing to spend some crisp cold time on the ice on a couple of beautiful northern Wisconsin afternoons.

-Heading north to see the wrestlers I used to coach compete in a tournament. That was big. They are looking like a good team, and also a good TEAM. The guys were all focused and competitive. So much that the first day I spent my time around the upper ring of the gym and stayed away from the action instead of distracting a focused group. The next day I spent some time chatting with the guys. I was so happy to hear of the successes the young men were having in life and on the mat, as well as their future aspirations. I'm really proud to have been able to work with this group of young men. Saying goodbye, probably for the last time to many of them, there were handshakes and some hugs, and ol' Coach Rendall was getting a bit of a lump in the throat. Yup I'll admit it. Of course...couldn't let THEM know that.

-Lots of tasty meals, both home prepared and at restaurants that somehow manage to surpass Bethel fare, believe it or not. Of course, after all the indulgence, some personal attention is in order so as not to take on the Mike Sherman physique.

-Visiting with lots of old friends from various walks of life. Everybody seems to be happy and healthy.

-And, of course, general rest and relaxation, and waking up on my own free will and accord.

Vacations rock. But they also end fast. One more day here, and Friday the journey begins, Saturday will be the arrival, and from there, the NEW journey resumes. I'm looking forward to the 2nd semester, and have some goals in mind. It'll be good to get back to work, more week would feel pretty nice too I suppose.

I hope all of your winter breaks and holidays were as good or better than mine. And for those of you around Bethel, it'll be good to see you soon.