Monday, August 29, 2011

Link Roundup

Orange Goo at Alaskan Village found to be Fungal Spore, Not Eggs at NPR (news story about a town not far from's in our same school district).

Attachment Parenting:
Babywearing Through the Ages at 9 Davids (lots of fun babywearing pictures from all over the world and all over the timeline)

Believing "children are resiliant" may be a fantasy at Psychology Today (discussing resilience or 'surviving' as opposed to thriving, and some educated guesses as to why kids today are not doing very vindicates attachment parenting yet again).

How Harry Potter Should Have Ended (youtube video, thoroughly amusing, although only if you're familiar with the stories and movies)

Intact or Circumcised: A Significant Difference in the Adult Penis by DrMomma (this post has some graphic photos, but they are very educational as well).
"If we surgically amputate the eyelids or fingernails, we will face the repercussions of making an organ that was designed to be internal, external. In order to survive this damage, the organ must is the same with the glans of the penis..."

Kids do the Darndest Things:
Kids do the Darndest Things (I've been adding new stories to the blog...if you haven't been there in a while, go visit! also, there's a new URL)

Makin' Stuff:
5 ingredient (vanilla) ice cream recipe from (and I can verify the validity of the freezing method--which does not require an ice cream maker--although I recommend stirring every 20-30 min after that first hour).

My Faith:
Hi, I'm Jenni. I'm an intellectual, granola mom, and miscarriage activist living on the Last Frontier. I'm a Mormon. (My new "I'm a Mormon" profile, which I actually submitted last spring but they take a while to get them actually up).

Fasting For the Goddess at Daughters of Mormonism (a podcast interview with a dear friend of mine, who has proposed that if we want to know more about Mother in Heaven, we should pray for answers--and she offers up the third sunday of each month as a time to join together in doing so)
Saying Goodbye to my LDS Home at Project Conversion (if you haven't seen this blog, it's very cool. A guy giving 12 religions a legitimate try for a month each...July was mormon month, and this is his final post with some of his conclusions about the faith)  
And I will end with a quote from this last link:
This reaction, of thanking me for just listening, is a common theme I find with all the faiths. People don’t want to argue or convince me that every other faith is wrong, they just want people to give them a chance–to listen instead of criticize or judge. It surprises me every time it happens.
Are we that bad at listening? Why are we so quick to condemn those who think differently than we do?
You know, I used to think that I was doing something unique with Project Conversion, that I might start some theological revolution, but the more I do this the more I realize that all I’m doing is listening. When my kids were babies, they cried to communicate. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for an infant trying to communicate and no one listens or understands. Is that what religious strife is, everyone fighting, pitching a fit because we stopped listening to one another?
“Well, I don’t understand those people. They do things differently so how can I listen or even want to?”
Here’s a suggestion: Take a year of your life and devote it to living among, listening to, and devoting yourself to those outside your current orbit of understanding. That’s right. That means turning off the talking heads on that right-wing, left-wing or no wing cable channel and learn something for yourself. Want to know what a Hindu really thinks? Ask a Hindu and then ask about ten more because they each have different ideas. Did you know it’s the same way with other faiths?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Grad School

I was thinking about a masters degree in 8 1/2 years ago when I was student teaching.Then I got engaged and married and mothering a little boy took precedent over grad school. I didn't know if it was postponed or cancelled. I always figured I'd eventually take classes of some sort, simply because I love to learn new things, but I didn't know whether I would pursue a degree or not. However, Hubby and I began discussing the idea a few weeks ago (partly because he is taking some classes of his own, and there are some financial benefits to both being in school for a while), and I confess I jumped at it. I think it took me about 39 seconds to make up my mind that if I could find a good online program, I would go back to school.

8 years ago when I was looking at grad school, I wanted to study psychology. I had been interested in it ever since Psych 101 when I was 16. I think people and their minds are fascinating. Perception and culture and belief and the power of the mind over the body... 8 years ago, the masters programs I looked at would not accept me unless I had my undergraduate degree in Psychology (which I don't), so this summer I began looking at programs to get a BS in psychology. Online! That was the catch, of course, was that I needed to be able to do it online!! And then I found a MS program, which was online, which I could do regardless of what my undergraduate degree was in. And so I applied.

Here is an excerpt from my application essay:
I am currently in the process of becoming a doula and childbirth/fertility educator. Following my own experiences with infertility, pregnancy, miscarriage, birth, and breastfeeding, I knew that my teaching abilities could be well applied within these areas of women’s health. I have been doing this informally for some time, but am preparing to begin teaching formal classes as well. I feel that a degree in psychology will support me in these endeavors because these experiences are as mental as they are physical. I particularly hope to work with women who are experiencing crisis pregnancies, or have survived infant loss, sexual abuse, or other traumas, and I know that the mental facet of those situations will affect the physical experience of each woman I serve.

So, as of this week, I am officially a grad school student (I start classes the first week of September).
Plus all the regular fun of mommyhood and wifehood, holding down the fort, babysitting a second 2-year-old 45hrs/wk. Plus keeping up with The Amethyst Network, and actively working on pulling together my childbirth ed class curriculum, and doing my reading for my doula training...

And you expect me to still write blog posts? Oh yeah, this is me. Of course I'll still write blog posts. ☺ I just don't know how frequent they will be. Once or twice a week may be the norm. With that said, I also have been thinking I'd like to do the weekend Linky Roundups like I used to do. I share a lot of links on facebook, but I have been thinking that maybe on the weekend I should post the list of them here too. There are some great articles out there and it seems like there's not much point in my writing about things that someone else already wrote, right?!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


So there was an earthquake on the east coast of the USA yesterday. My sister lives in Virginia and said it was pretty scary for her and her little ones--things fell off shelves and they had just all gathered under the dining room table when the shaking stopped. Friends of mine in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire said they felt it too. A 5.9 is a pretty good size. I remember an earthquake in Seattle 9 or 10 years ago that was about that size, and I felt it where I was in college in Ellensburg  (110 miles away). It made the lights swing and they closed several buildings on campus for several hours while they inspected them for structural damage. I remember that being unnerving.
Prior to that I remember one other earthquake. I was 13 or 14 and I was babysitting and the whole house started swaying. It scared me for a minute until I realized that it was just an earthquake... I don't remember how big it was, but there was no damage. I called my dad and he made the excellent point that aftershocks tend to be smaller than the initial quake, and I calmed down and was ok.

When we moved to Homer two years ago I learned what it means to be totally unphased by earthquakes. We had been there just a few weeks when one afternoon things started to shake. At first I thought it was our dryer, because it could get a pretty good vibration going on through the house...but the dryer wasn't running. By the time I realized it was an earthquake it was over. I hurried to the other room where my then 2-years-old Bear was playing serenely. I asked if he was ok. He said yes. I asked if he felt the shaking. He looked at me like I was asking about quantum physics. Alrighty then!
Over the next few months I learned that we would get earthquakes several times a week--sometimes several times a day--and that every 6-8 weeks one would be a 3 or 4 or 5 and I would feel it. I learned how to guess at how big they were (and I got fairly good too--I'd put my guess on my facebook, and then ten minutes later go look it up, and I was usually within 0.2 or so!) I also learned that familiarity breeds contempt, or, at least, apathy, because not one of my kids has ever seemed the least bit phased by all these earthquakes. And, I confess, at this point, neither am I. If nothing even falls off a shelf, well, I just hop on facebook and make my prediction...
Of course, here in Kotzebue we are off the ring of fire (for the first time in my life I live in a non-earthquake zone!), so perhaps I'll re-sensitize to them. Who knows. Here I think we are probably more likely to see a polar bear in downtown than to feel an earthquake. (I'll be sure to let you know if that happens.)

But back to the Virginia quake, KSL News (in Utah) made sure to let us all know that four spires broke off the top of the Mormon temple.
AND, in case you haven't heard yet, there are some conflicting opinions about the causes of the shaking...
It has been determined that the epicenter of the Va earthquake was in a graveyard just outside of DC. The cause appears to be all of our Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves.

The President has just confirmed that the DC earthquake yesterday occurred on a rare and obscure fault-line, apparently known as "Bush's Fault."

Michelle Bachmann has promised to keep future quakes at 2.9.

The president wanted it to be a 3.6, but the Republicans said it needed to be a 6.0, so they compromised.
It wasn't an earthquake. It was a 14.6 Trillion dollar check bouncing. any more for me?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I believe it

‎"To believe in something, 
and not live it, 
is dishonest." 

~ Gandhi

Friday, August 12, 2011

Moving: 2011 Edition

Remember this post?

Well, this summer's move went like this:

Week 1
pulled over for a pit stop next to Kluane Lake in Yukon.
Words cannot really do justice to the vastness that is this country.

1 green mini van
2 parents
3 kids
(1 doggie left with friends)
2 countries
5 states/provinces (Alaska, Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Washington)
2600 miles of driving (that translates to about 56 hours)
6 times of Eagle throwing up (poor kiddo gets carsick...)
1 time of sneaking dramamine into Eagle with a skittle.
5 times of having to get dramamine into Eagle other ways, because now he won't touch a skittle for the world
3 nights of driving all night, and Bear finally asking "mom, can we please sleep in a bed on this night?"
3 rockstar energy drinks (YUCK!!! but they worked)
2 portable DVD players (praise the Lord for this invention!)
1 bath in a cold Canadian Lake
1 Midnight Sun

I gave him a pillow, really I did, it's there on the left! But yes, he is asleep
We made a rule that whenever we pulled over, we always parked the van facing the direction we needed to keep going, so that we never got turned-around, even if the other driver was still sleeping...this was after nearly going the wrong direction at 4 in the morning...

wildflowers by the roadside...

Boya Lake, northern British Columbia

Canadian rockies (in BC's Glacier National Park, not to be confused with the one in Montana!)
We left Anchorage on Sunday, and had anticipated arriving at my parents' house on Friday, probably in the evening. But for assorted reasons (including bad weather) we opted to drive straight through three nights and camp for one, rather than driving for one and camping the we actually arrived on Thursday morning.

Week 2
9 days with my family, including 2 grandparents, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, 1 great-grandma
1 big trampoline
6 chickens, 3 turtles, 2 guinea pigs, 1 dog (theirs, not ours), and 2 smelly mice.
1 trip to the Pacific Science Center
2 days with dear friends
2 henna-fests
1 time singing in church

And then it was time to come north again...

Week 3

2 airplanes
4 airports (Seattle, Anchorage, Nome, Kotzebue)

5 days with friends in Anchorage (thank you!!) in a house with 10 people and 7 dogs!
*&^@* hours at the stupid storage unit, getting stuff sorted and re-packed into boxes of the right weight
8 carry-on bags (plus 2 carseats)
12 stowed bags and boxes (there is a 50lb/bag limit, and I'll have you know that as they put the first one on the scale it was 49.8 lbs! And all but one of the others came in between 46-49 lbs. One was 51 lbs but they let it go because this is Alaska and people are nice and my others were underweight so it was close enough).
648 lbs of food freighted up at 61cents/lb
1 fridge, 4 mattresses, 1 vacuum cleaner, and a dozen or so assorted other of boxes freighted at non-food rate of 77cents/lb
2 nights sleeping on couches/recliners because our mattresses had not arrived (we got in on Saturday, they arrived on monday)
2 nights of sleeping on our mattresses on the floor at the neighbor's place (which shares a mudroom with ours so it's not too inconvenient) because our carpets were still wet.

1 family safely in our new home.
Yeah, they always look this cute

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pictures from Kotzebue

As the plane landed in Kotzebue, I was watching out the window, and I saw fields of this beautiful reddish-tassled grass. This grass seems to grow almost anywhere it can find the space to, including little spots all over town. This is just outside our house.

The tassels are very soft, and they flutter in the breeze...I had no idea what they were but a friend saw the picture and helped me figure it out. We're pretty sure that it's foxtail barley. It is stunning, really.

So here is our house. It's the white one behind all the pallets--that's our door right there in the center of the photo (just right of the green thing).
The pallets are what we'll be burning for firewood this winter. They are readily available in summertime (when a lot of things get shipped in), but harder to find in winter, when everyone wants them for their wood stoves... so our landlord collects them all summer (he lives next to us). We've been helping with the collecting--in fact today Hubby and the landlord built a woodshed to store the cut-to-stove-sized wood in--so we'll be able to use the wood as well. It's a good thing, since this is the arctic!

For the first few days we couldn't really move in because of carpet cleaning (which included a broken machine and three days of wet carpets) So even though all our stuff was in the house, this is what it looked like...

In spite of the rough start with moving in, we really like our little house. It's older, but it's clean, has fresh paint, and is very comfortable. I have a gas stove for the first time in my life so I'm adjusting to that (everything cooks faster than I'm used to, so I'm having to adapt all my baking to compensate!).We have nice neighbors--not just the landlord, but another couple and a single lady. And our 60lb dog is the little doggie on the block! Everyone (except the landlord) works at the school AND has a dog. One of the dogs looks almost exactly like Koira, only half again as big. I'll have to get pictures of them together, it's quite amusing as we have already confused them a couple of times, and we've only had them together for two days!

Here you can see how far we have to go to get to church (no more phone church!)
The green arrow is our house, the black arrow is the church. Between us there is a mobile home (our neighbor). That's it. It takes almost an entire minute to get to church. It'll take a little longer after it snows if we have to walk around the block.

And this photo is from the corner of the church...looking at the ocean...the ARCTIC ocean...

(You can see in this photo as well as the first one that most of the buildings here in Kotzebue are up off the ground. Apparently this is because of the wind. With the space under buildings, snow is able to just blow through, whereas if they were on the ground then the wind would cause huge drifts against the houses. I remember having to dig our way out from the front door a few times in Pelican, so I appreciate the foresight of whoever built our house putting it on stilts!)

And here are some photos from a little walk I took with Eagle and the doggie the day after we got here...

I don't know what these little white flowers are, but they're pretty. (you can click on the photo to see them larger, perhaps someone can identify them for me?)

an iris, nearly laying down, but clinging to life outside the church. I suppose it was cultivated once, but it doesn't seem to be anymore...

...and the Alaskan classic, fireweed. It's absolutely everywhere, only here it's shorter and smaller than in the more southerly parts of the state

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Celebrating Lammas

Lammas is the first harvest festival, for most of us it is one of the lesser-known festivals in the wheel of the year. Ironically, it was one of the first ones I heard of, because it is mentioned in Romeo & Juliet (Juliet's nurse notes that Juliet was born at Lammastide). The festival takes place between July 31 and August 2.
It is also called "Lugnasadh" (Loo-nah-sah), after Lugh, the celtic god of skills and talents.
The Saxon holiday of Lammas celebrates the harvesting of the grain. The first sheaf of wheat is ceremonially reaped, threshed, milled and baked into a loaf. The grain dies so that the people might live. Eating this bread, the bread of the Gods, gives us life. If all this sounds vaguely Christian, it is. In the sacrament of Communion, bread is blessed, becomes the body of God and is eaten to nourish the faithful. This Christian Mystery echoes the pagan Mystery of the Grain God. [source link

Until recent years, in Scotland, the first cut of the Harvest was made on Lammas Day, and was a ritual in itself. The entire family must dress in their finest clothing and go into the fields. The head of the family would lay his bonnet (hat) on the ground and, facing the Sun, cut the first handful of corn with a sickle. He would then put the corn Sun-wise around his head three times while thanking the God of the Harvest for "corn and bread, food and flocks, wool and clothing, health and strength, and peace and plenty." [source link

  • Wheat or corn or other grains
  • Bread
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Summer squash
  • New potatoes, mashed potatoes, or colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage and cream mixed in)
  • Grain beverages

  • Share talents or skills with each other (participate in or attend a talent show or craft fair)
  • Give thanks for your talents and skills
  • Give thanks for the coming harvest
  • Grind grain
  • Make bread
  • Make applesauce
  • Make corn-husk dolls 
  • Share bread with friends (giving loaves, or breaking a loaf together)


Linked Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...