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Friday, August 28, 2009

The Qalgi

So I had this idea in my head for a while.  

Modern times has created modern connections. I spend more time on the net taking care of my friendships, then I do on the phone or in emails even.  I watch as the younger generation spend even more time on the internet than I do.  They can type faster than I can talk.

I know quite a few young people in school.  Family.  Friends.  Friends of family.  I am so proud of them.  So scared for them.  I know what it's like to cast yourself into the deep blue education system.  Away from home.  Away from everything that is comfortable and known to sink or swim.  No one ever floats.

It was a hard, teeth gritting experience.  One I would never have made it through without the love and support of my family and friends.  I would tell myself to let it out, cry hard into my pillow till my eyes were swollen and red.  Then wipe my face off.  Square my shoulders.  And put on my game face and go to class.
I did not always succeed.  I was not the perfect student.  I got kicked out after my first year.  But without the faith and support that I received over the years.  I would never have gotten to where I am today, I would never wiped off my face and marched out my door.

I believed in myself.  Because there were so many others that believed in me.  So many others that could see what I could not see.  I was blind to my own adequateness. 

I want to let all the other students have what I had.  I want to contribute to success.  And I want to let others contribute to success. So I created the Qalgi.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How I write....

I finally realized how I write today.

I have been working on a piece that explores the feelings I have about learning my language.  Basically I scribble phrases and words all over a piece of paper.  Images I like.  Words that fit.  It usually happens within one day.  I can never add anymore the next day when the flow is gone and the feelings are not at the surface to be exposed. But I do take some time to refine it....

Want to see what I wrote on this specific piece of paper? keep in mind that this is as rough as it gets.  I'll post the finished product when it is done so you can compare....

Step into my your head and remember to duck when I say low bridge.

Language shame
Spoken stigma
Ignorance blooms like puss filled scars and blisters
I become ugly
My tongue is ugly
I push I pull words
Words from my elders claw at my secret heart 
revealing that it is filled with sugar (flour) not seal oil like theirs
I prove that I am not Inupiaq, That I am a fraud
I treasure every word that I know, repeat it, repeat it.
hold it tight.
Just pretending I am

A piece of paper dreaming of being wolf skin
A yellow songbird dreaming of being raven
A sigh, dreaming of being more
A 9-5 worker dreaming of being hunter
A handful of soil, dreaming of being caribou

I feel the single word use my mouth

The feelings claw at me
wrapped around my elders words
so that I cannot drink
the sweet and the sour at the same time
I choke
I weep
I think
I write

Thursday, August 20, 2009

DOgs picking blueberries

We bought an argo.  And it came in on a chubby little plane today. It's not a new one...but it's a beauty.  Yay for craigslist!  I didn't take one picture of it yet.  Typical me!  But we took it out into the country side for a test drive.  We picked blue berries and had campfire hotdogs, while the hillsides changed color with the setting sun.  It was beautiful, the kind of beauty that you could never express in words, or even capture in photos.  
We took the two puppies and Ben's brothers dog Naqayuk, a tall and slender dog with bright eerie salmonberry colored eyes.  She has a softspot for me I think, as she enjoyed giving me kisses and leaning against me as I picked berries.  At one point she started sniffing my fingers while I plucked blue berries from their perches.  As a joke I held one out in the palm of my hand so she could inspect the berry...after a few quick sniffs, she gingerly plucked the berry from my hand and ate it.  It made me laugh.  I picked some more berries and she ate those too!  She watched carefully as I picked berries.  I could almost hear her mind gathering information.  She sniffed where I had just gotten a berry, trying to figure out how they were hidden.  She sniffed my hand, she sniffed my bucket, she sat and watched me for about ten minutes.  At one point I swear I heard 
a "click."  At the next berry patch she again watched what I was doing.  But this time she sniffed AROUND where I was picking, and very very carefully,  she would pull the berries from the bush with her tiny front teeth.  I was hilarious.

Of course the puppies came around and wanted to kn
ow what she was eating.  The sniffed and watched and sniffed and soon after they also were sitting beside me ...picking berries.  It was amazing to me.  That they learned so quickly and they would even find interest in berries, which after all was a fruit.  Silly silly puppies. Maybe next year I should show them how to work for money, and how to do taxes. 

Some pictures from this evening for your enjoyment!

The willow brush is changing everyday, shedding the bright green of summer for the more mottled clothes of fall...


My view from front porch this morning.  

Monday, August 17, 2009

Feeling better...

A necklace I finished.  I must have sliced a hundred of those little buggers. Thankfully caribou antler is soft enough that it didn't take long to finish the surfaces. Every time I make a piece it feels as if I'm using beads that are so important to me.  In this case it's the peruvian opal beads, their color so reminds me of the arctic ice. 

I'm thinking of shutting down my website for the time being.  It has become more of a hassle than it's worth.  I'm going to be looking for something simpler I think.   

Saturday, August 15, 2009


So after 3 weeks without internet access.....we finally got it back! 

And Since my timing is always perfect, I got a major cold that turned into a sinus infection.  So now I'm sitting around the house sleeping, doped up on cold meds and antibiotics.  Not exactly the best time to be I will see you all when I stop dreaming purple...


Monday, August 3, 2009

New salmonberry recipe.

Been working on this for a while.

Since I can basically cut and paste this I thought I would go ahead and post it!  This recipe still needs work so let me know if you try it!

Salmonberry cake

Salmonberry cake recipe.

A box of white cake mix

3 1/2 cups salmonberries




wire mesh strainer

1/2 cup sugar

cool whip or vanilla ice cream


Preheat oven according to box cake directions.  Grease pan well or use cupcake papers.


Take two cups of salmonberries and strain the pulp and juice from them.  I do this by placing a small strainer on a bowl and smashing the berries through the strainer with a large metal spoon.  Throw away the seeds left over.   This makes approximately 1 1/4 cup salmonberry pulp/juice.  Place pulp in a small bowl.  Add enough water to make a total of 2 cups of the salmonberry pulp mixture.  Mix well and set aside.

Prepare white cake mix as directed, except substitute one cup of the salmonberry pulp mixture for one cup of water required for the recipe.  Once well mixed, carefully fold in 1 1/2  cups whole salmonberries. Pour into cake pans or cupcake pan with paper cups.  Bake according to box.  I found that it might take a little longer to cook than normal.  Check by inserting a toothpick, cake is done when toothpick comes out clean.  

Topping (prepared while cake is cooking):

In a small saucepan pour in remaining one cup of salmonberry juice, remaining 1/2 cup whole berries, and half cup sugar.  Stirring constantly heat over med high heat till mixture starts to simmer.  Remove from heat and set aside.


For cupcakes:  Before cake cools take a fork and gently poke holes into top of cupcake.  Pour a small spoonful of topping mixture over each cupcake.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.

For layered cake:  Poke holes into the layers while cooling with a knife or fork (keep holes in the center of the cake and way from the edges.) .  Pour topping over cake and let cool before assembling.  Serve with whipped topping or vanilla ice cream. 

For a sweeter and drier cake omit the topping. The topping is very tart. You can add whole salmonberries for embellishment.