Wednesday, June 28, 2006

185. Midnight Sun

On December 21st I posted a picture taken in the middle of the day to show how dark it was. To balance it out, here is a picture taken in Deering in the middle of the night on the longest day of the year. (Chip e-mailed it to me. He is not sure why the sun came out black.)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

184. New Stadium in NYC

I am having a pool - Everyone put in a dollar and tall me what you think they will name the new baseball stadium that they are planning to build in NYC. Whoever guesses right gets the money.

My guess is "Citicorp Stadium".

Saturday, June 17, 2006

183. NYC

I definitely lost some of my NY edge. I had to hold on in the subway or I would fall when the train lurched. I found a siren annoying. (I haven't actually lived in this city for 16 years. The last time I visited was Pesach 2005.)

I was in Grand Central Terminal, and I realized that there were these people around me that I DID NOT KNOW!! THOUSANDS OF THEM!!!! If you live here (or almost anywhere) you pass strangers!

I forgot how mindbogglingly delicious a good pastrami sandwich is. Recomendation: Ben's Best, on Queens Boulevard - they have great pastrami and know how to make a sandwich where the bread strains to hold the meat. For pizza, go to Lucia's on Roosevelt Avenue. The Italian ices are great at The Lemon Ice King of Corona, but there is an ices place on Lexington around 80th street who are willing to mix flavors in a pint (A pint can have 1 scoop each of 7 flavors.)

Friday, June 16, 2006

182. Yes, Grandpa, a Woman Pilot

It was kind of nice that my last flight on Bering Airlines had my favorite pilot. Ula is from Sweden. When she was four years old she told her father that she wanted to be a truck driver because they get to drive all over the place. She moved to California for excitement, where she learned to fly. She then moved to Kotzebue to be a pilot.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

181. Ooops!

It looks like the 72 virgins that martyrs are supposed to get when they get to heaven might be based on a mistranslation of the Koran. Possibly they might get 72 white grapes instead. Hardly makes it worthwhile.

Monday, June 12, 2006

180. More pictures

A sunrise over the Arctic Ocean

Sledding down a hill of snow. (This is NOT snow on a hill. The ground itself is flat. The snow just piled up this high. Realize also that the house is raised up.)

A wave of snow. (The fenced in area behind is not that secure when the snow piles up so high we can just climb up the now and step over the fence.)

Max is trying to decide how badly he really needs to go out.

We get fresh bread!!!

179. Leftover Pictures from Deering

I still have some leftover stuff, so I'll put it on.

These photos:

Chukchi college in Kotzebue (a branch of UAF)

The coastline, taken from a small plane

Dorcas and Daisy, two of my students. I took this picture when I was planning to do profiles of people, which I am sorry I never got around to. Two teeenage girls.

Yet another Max photo

My brother collecting snow so we can take a shower

Friday, June 09, 2006

178. Leaving Deering

Our plans to leave Deering were well-organized. Marc & Blair (my brother and my sister-in-law) were visiting with their two children. We would all leave together on the morning flight on Bering Airlines and fly to Kotzebue. In Kotzebue that afternoon we would get an Alaska Airlines flight to Anchorage. I would go stay with my friends in Anchorage, while my brother would stay with some people with whom they were “couch-surfing”. (How long before that phrase makes its way into the dictionary?) They would have over a day in Anchorage to enjoy before flying back to NYC.

This had the advantage that I could bring all my belongings with me on the plane to Anchorage, since the four of them were not using there whole checked-baggage allowance. (Alaska Airlines allows 3 bags per person in-state.)

We wanted to be clean to travel, so all 6 of us washed up. (Adult humans took showers, children were washed by parents, schnauzer was bathed by owner.) This presented a problem because we were out of water. My brother hauled in a lot of snow and melted it on the stove. (see picture)

The problem began that morning. Fog in Kotzebue. The Bering Airlines flight was delayed indefinitely. (Fortunately, they call you to let you know.) So we were all just sitting around with everyone’s stuff packed waiting to hear back from the airline. We also had given away what was left of my food the night before. The kids were playing and Max was being a dog. Finally the airline called and let me know the planes were coming.

I said a last goodby to my house. (see picture)

We got to the airlines. Chip and Agnes and Ting and Becky came to see us off. I’ll miss them :-( Waah!) I should have called beforehand to let the airline know that I had 8 huge boxes to go, as well as a crated dog. We did manage to get them all on the plane. (see picture)

We missed the connecting flight on Alaska Airlines, however, and there was not room for us on that evening’s flight. We were stuck in Kotzebue overnight. No, problem, right, we could just stay at the hotel? Well, the hotel does not take dogs. There are a few people who run sort of B&Bs, but they also don’t take dogs. That left us with the problem of what to do with Max. We tried asking around the airport to see if anyone had any suggestions, and they all just suggested we call the churches. Marc had an idea to call the radio station; he figured they must be open 24 hours and maybe if we paid them they would let us stay in their lobby over night, but when we called they said they were not open 24 hours. We then stated calling the churches, but no one answered. While we were trying to brainstorm, the radio station called us at the airport. They gave us the name of someone they said kept dogs overnight. We called her, and she said I could bring him over.

The next problem was what to do with the big boxes we were traveling with. Alaska Airlines would not let us check them a day early. Finally, Bering let us leave them in their storage shed.

We walked to the hotel and checked in while I stayed outside with Max. (In Kotzebue, the airport is right next to the town.) Then we went in search of Judy M. who would watch Max. Marc carried the empty dog crate and I had Max on a leash while my Blair brought the kids. We figured we’d grab dinner afterwards. Remember how my brother had brought in snow so I could have a clean dog to bring to Anchorage? The stupid mutt (OK, he is pedigreed, but his testicles and his papers were gone long before I ever got him) managed to walk through every mud puddle on the way. The snow was starting to melt, these were unpaved roads, so there were a LOT of mud puddles. I had a general idea of where we were going, but did not know the exact streets. There are also not a lot of street signs in Kotzebue. When we thought we were right nearby, we stared asking people where the street was. No one knew. (I think people learn where things are, without needing to know the name of the streets.) When we asked a guy in a pick-up if he knew where the street was and he didn’t we asked if he knew where Judy M. lived. He did. We put Max and the crate in the back of his pickup and I got in (his pickup only held 2 people) and he drove me the block and a half while the others followed.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. Max stayed at Judy M’s house overnight while we stayed at the hotel. The next morning I got Max and we met at the airport and got my boxes from one airport building to the other (The airport in Kotzebue is made up of 4 small buildings, one for each airline: Alaska, Frontier (not the same Frontier Airlines that serves the contiguous 48), Bering, and Hagland. Between the building is the open parking lot where you do not need to get a ticket to park, not do you have to pay $6 /hr.) We arrived in Anchorage. Marc & Blair decided that rather than catch their flight that night they would stay with us in Anchorage for a few days.

The group “Trout Fishing in America” has a song about a porcupine in the outhouse in Talkeetna, so my nephew wanted to see an outhouse in Talkeetna, so we spent one day driving to Talkeetna, a few hours north of Anchorage and found an outhouse. (BTW, Talkeetna also had a lot of bathrooms.)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

177. Goodby Deering

I’ve left Deering.

On one hand, I get to go back to the land of craft stores, smoothies, movie theaters, and running water. On the other hand, now I’ll have to go back to traffic jams, getting lost a lot, and checkout lines in stores.

Teaching in Deering has been a great experience. It gave me an opportunity to work with students that I actually had a chance to get to know. This was not the case in the school where I had worked in the years before Deering, where I had over 150 students at a time.

I am not sure what I will do next year. So far, I am just concentrating on this summer. I need to present my thesis at Portland State University, so I can get another master’s, this one in mathematics. (My paper is on infinity.) I am also going into some month-long inpatient program at Johns Hopkins for chronic pain. (I broke my neck several years ago in a car accident and it has been giving me a lot of pain ever since.)

This also leaves me homeless at the moment, since the house cam with the job. There are several people I can stay with, but one place I where Max can also stay, so I am now staying with a couple of friends in Anchorage.

I’ll miss Deering. This is the first time I have left a place where I’ve lived feeling like I’ll never see it again. I’ve been back to NYC, where I grew up. I’ve also visited Patchogue, LI, where I lived for a while. I never got back to Jerusalem, although I hope to, hopefully the next summer that I don’t have to spend taking classes or looking for a job. I did get back to Portland OR and Phoenix AZ. OK, I never got back to Alvin TX and probably never will, but I wasn’t there for very long.

Anyone out there know of a community college that is looking for a math teacher?

I’m not sure what to do with this blog. Now that I have come down to the 61 degrees latitude, I’m not rally that far north. I think I’ll keep it during the summer, and decide what to do once I know what I am doing next year. Anchorage is just not so far north, and is certainly not “bush”, removing the interesting aspect of this blog. (Of course, I think I am fascinating no matter where I am, but I might not be that objective.)

Maybe I’ll go teach in Unalaska (no, I don’t know where it got that name) or somewhere else on the Aleutians and have a blog called “The Westernmost Jew”. I know nothing at this point. As the saying goes, “If you want to make G-d laugh, tell her your plans.”

Friday, June 02, 2006

176. Analogy

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