Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Year of Blogging

December 11th marked our one year blogiversary, I guess they call it. We started our blog one year ago as a way to share what is happening in our lives with our loved ones far and wide. Sharing our stories every few days gives a far better picture of our lives than say a yearly Christmas letter.

People have often told me I should journal about our adventures and life up north. I’ve tried and failed miserably. I hate journaling. What good is a journal? No one appreciates it until you’re dead and it’s found in your boxes of junk. Even then, who knows if someone would care to read it. Blogging on the other hand motivates me. I am able to share what we are doing with the world and anyone is free to read about it, right now, and make comments. So, I guess it’s our on-line journal with the interactive aspect thrown in.

Starting our own blog has led to following other bloggers. So, on this one year anniversary of blogging I’d like to share some of the blogs that have made an impact on me throughout the past year.

Aaron Brown’s blog keeps me in touch with National and Iron Range politics. He keeps it interesting with his goofy commentaries and his one of a kind sense of humor.

Friends like Erin and Bill remind me of how beautiful and enjoyable it is to be in Northern Minnesota.

Gia’s blog keeps me humble as I am reminded that some people’s lives are SOOOO much cooler than mine.

Christina Brown, The Northern Cheapskate,
continually finds ways to save money and challenges me to save on our day to day expenses.

Charity teaches me that eating healthy can be oh so delicious and interesting.

These are just a few. I enjoy hearing about numerous other friends, their families and their day to day lives through their blog posts.

I raise my glass to the blogging community that has help keep me in touch and informed this year. May we continue strong through the following year and years to come.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Alaskan Driveway

We have some friends that live in Soldotna AK. The neighborhood that they live in has a community runway. People park their airplanes in front of their houses. When they want to go flying they just taxi the plane down the street to the runway.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wooden Bike

I built this "push bike" for Harold last summer. It was an interesting challenge to figure out how to make this out of wood rather than metal. It turned out ok, Harold was still a little young to use it, but I'm sure he will enjoy it next summer.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Stockings Are Hung

The Rudstroms have decorated the house for Christmas. One of the ways we keep life simple around here is that we own very little decorations. In fact, they all fit in one Rubbermaid tote and it takes us about 25 minutes to put up all the trimmings. Still, they do their job. They put me in the mood for Christmas and makes the house look lovely and cozy.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rental Cars

Rental car companies normally give you two keys when you rent a car. Having two keys for a car is very convenient. Having two keys permanently connected together is not.

Uncle John

Harold got to hang out with Uncle John for a while at the craft sale. He had lots of fun wearing Uncle's sunglasses and getting whisker rubs. The next day we were at Bering Air and Harold saw one of the employees from a distance who also happened to have a beard. "Uncle John", he said and pointed. "No, not everyone with a beard is Uncle John," I explained.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Ride

Here's how C.O. looked when he arrived in Nome on Wednesday evening. He drove the 4-wheeler from Brevig to Nome through a blizzard while I managed to score a free airplane ticket.

He looked about the same when he returned to Brevig on Sunday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Feast

When I stopped by the community center/post office today I notice that someone had dropped off a pile of reindeer for the upcoming community feast.


My husband is a very talented guy and a lot more artistic than you'd expect an engineer from Northern Minnesota to be.

This coming Saturday we will have a table at the Nome craft fair. I will be selling my Christmas stockings, primarily, and C.O. will these very cool lamps for sale. He collects neat looking odds and ends from the dump, like snow machine parts, pump bases and 4-wheeler tires and puts them together in a whole new way. If I were a piece of metal junk, I'd be honored to be rescued from the landfill and made into a work of art like this.

Here's some closes up of each lamp.

These are all wonderful, but I still think my lamp is the most beautiful of all.

C.O. plans to sell them for $325 each. Not bad for a piece of functional art.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Break Glass in Case of Emergency

Last spring we traveled by train from Fairbanks to Anchorage on the Alaska Railroad. Every train car had one of these emergency stations. They contained the obvious first aid kit, but also the puzzling sledge hammer, pry bar, and hack saw. The hack saw also had a few spare blades taped to the frame. I'm not sure what you would use them for, but they were there just in case.

A Tribute to Lucy

Yesterday morning we got some sad news, our landlady, Lucy, had passed away. She had been struggling with health issues for quite some time and her body finally gave out. We didn't know her well but have a few fond memories of our times with Lucy.

Lucy and her husband live(d) in Nome, and each time we were there, we made sure to stop by for a little visit. These meetings became a lot more fun for all of us when our son, Harold, came along. Lucy took a liking to Harold right away. She was happy to have him living in her house. She gave him hugs and kisses, a toy juke box for a Christmas present and his Eskimo name, a most special gift.


(Sorry Lucy, I know you told us the spelling over and over and I'm sure we still have it wrong. I'm guessing we don't say it quite right either, but we'll keep trying.)

Visiting Lucy could be very entertaining. At a visit, about a year ago, Lucy was telling us about some of the medical troubles she was having. As she went on in more detail about a minor surgery she had had that involved her inner thigh, she stood up, loosened her pants' waist . . . oh no, she's not going to . . . yes she did, she dropped her pants and pointed out the exact place the doctors had operated on. How can a person forget that?

She also had some great stories to tell. One that sticks in my mind was the first time she cheated death. Lucy and her brother were ice skating in Nome when Lucy fell through the ice. She came to the surface once, and sank back down. She struggled and came up a second time. At this point, hypothermia must have been setting in because she started to feel warm and comfortable. The third time she went under, she remembers thinking how nice it was and she stopped struggling. Her brother was at the edge of the ice at this point and plunged his arm into the water and took a swipe with his hand in hopes of grabbing Lucy. All he was able to reach was her hair. And it was by her hair that he pulled her out the water.

Though I don't remember the details, a more recent brush with death happened when Lucy arrived at the hospital and had to be recessitated. "I was dead and they brought me back," she said. "It wasn't the first time I nearly died." It was after this that she share the ice skating story with us.

But this time, she was unable to cheat death.

So, good-bye Lucy. We wish little Kusugluk could have known you but we will tell him about the lady who gave him his Inupiaq name. We will hold our few memories dear and think of you fondly. May you rest safely in the arms of Jesus.
The Rudstroms

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The List of Favorites Grows

Harold used to only be loyal to one animal, his whale, whaley we affectionately call him. Now he wants to drag a whole host of stuffed animals and toys around. This was the pile he came out of his crib with the other day.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Alaska has a lot of airplanes. We also have a lot of airports. There are four or five in and around Anchorage. This sign is at Lake Hood airport. There are several roads around the airport that are shared by cars and planes. It's a strange place to drive around.

An iPod Review

At the October BSSD in-service in Unalakleet, I received an iPod nano as a thank you gift for presenting a session. I was pretty excited about it and for a little icing on the cake, I got a purple one.

I never really considered buying any sort of iPod device for a few reasons,
A) I rarely have the opportunity to listen to one
B) I never thought it was worth the money and
C) I don' t like having thingies, ear phones, stuck in my ear.

But now that I'm the proud owner of a purple iPod nano (fourth generation) I decided to give it a fair chance. I forced myself to listen to it on the walk to school every morning for a week. This is really the only feasible time to listen to it since I am interacting with humans for the rest of my waking hours.

At first I didn't really like it, I wasn't comfortable not being able to hear the world around me. When I have ear phones jammed in my ears I can't hear the snow crunch under my feet, the dogs howling or ATVs in the distance. I have some issues with shutting myself off from the world around me. It's also kind of weird since my walk to work is only 3 - 4 minutes long, barely long enough for one song.

Some aspects of listening to the iPod did start to grow on me, however. A groovy Phish song came on one morning and made me feel like there was a sound track for my life. Music in general is moving because it can transport you to another time, bring back memories, make one forget the cares of the moment. There's something nice about that every now and again.

So how do I feel about my iPod over all? I'm not exactly sure. Now that I'm not "forcing" myself into listening every morning, I most often forget to use it. But every now and again the mood strikes me and I let the music set the tone for my morning walk. So I guess I'm not a convert, I still wouldn't buy one myself but since I have one, it's a nice option to have.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Helping Orphans

I got this e-mail from Christian World Adoption yesterday. They are the agency we went through to get Harold. They do great work. The commitment of adoption isn't for everyone, but there are smaller ways to help the millions of orphans in this world.

"November is National Adoption Month and a great time to consider how you will help save the lives of orphans throughout the world. Through supporting adoption and humanitarian aid to children waiting to be adopted -- God is at work in you to provide hope and healing.

As our economy tightens, it's important that your giving makes the maximum impact on those receiving help. There is no better way to make a difference then through giving to ministry in Ethiopia.

Here are 8 ways you can change and save lives now:

1. Purchase food for children in Ethiopia. We are establishing a temporary food bank on the Acacia Village land site. Help us reach our goal of $30,000 by this Christmas by visiting http://www.christianworldfoundation.org/food4kids/food4kids.htm and donating.

2. Organize a Fund a Room Night in your community for Acacia Village http://www.cwa.org/acacia/home.htm. During dinner and fellowship, participants pool their resources to name a room at Acacia Village.

3. Give Christmas gift donations (in lieu of material gifts) to Christian World Foundation in honor or memory of loved ones. We will send the gift recipient an acknowledgment card.

4. Bring the Acacia Village vision to your church. Your congregation can raise funds to help build Acacia Village and then travel to Ethiopia on a mission trip.

5. Host a gathering in your home for Acacia Village. This is an opportunity for your friends and associates to be involved in a personal way.

6. Throw a baby shower for kids at Acacia Village. Instead of bringing gifts, participants at the shower choose items to purchase for children in Ethiopia.

7. Eat at home one night a month instead of going out to eat. Donate the savings to Acacia Village.

8. Collect a penny for each orphan in Ethiopia. There are an estimated 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia. You can establish a penny drive in your community to collect 4.6 million pennies -- one penny representing each orphan in Ethiopia. The total proceeds of $46,000 can be used to name a room at Acacia Village.

I can help you implement any of these ideas. Call or email me anytime. And, as always, continue to pray for the children of Ethiopia."

God's joy and strength to you,
Louis Fawcett
Director of Development
Christian World Foundation

I recommend watching this video as well.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kevin Kelly: The Next 5,000 Days of the Web

Here's an interesting TED talk giving by Kevin Kelly (the founding executive editor of "Wired" magazine). He talks about where the Web has come in the past 5000 days and where it is going. It's worth the 20 minutes to watch all the way through.


Friday, November 7, 2008

We Live Up North

We live up north, way up north. When you mount a satellite dish you don't point it at the sky, you point it south.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pumpkin Fun

We didn't carve a pumpkin this year, instead we are cutting up our three pumpkins to cook and freeze for the up coming winter. Inspired by a post by my friend Charity a while ago, I decided to try cook something other than pie with our pumpkin. I tried creamy pumpkin soup, it was delicious! Now, I can't wait to try many types of recipes with all our pumpkin.

In the mean time, Harold had a blast this evening "helping" to clean the pumpkins.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lifting Heavy Things

Our neighbors fuel tank blew off of the stand a few days ago. They hired me to put it back up and fix the broken fuel line. The broken fuel line was going to be a simple plumbing job, but first I had to lift the tank 6' up onto the stand. To get it up there I used a tripod that I made for moving and lifting heavy things. The tripod is made from three pieces of 1 1/2" pipe about 16' long. Mounted on one leg is a boat trailer type winch that runs up to a pulley at the top. This setup made it easy to move the tank around and set it in place without wrecking my back. I guess you could say that over the years I have learned to work smarter, not harder.


Sunday, November 2, 2008


Here is Harold counting his winnings from the Halloween costume contest at the school last Friday.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Carnival

Halloween at the school is madness. We first have a parade and a costume contest. Complete with cash prizes donated by the Traditional Council of Brevig Mission. The school then hands out bags of candy and this year we ended with carnival games and prizes in the gym. Over all it's fun but I'm so glad when it's over.

It's hectic for everyone and especially traumatic for the little kids in kindergarten kids. They start getting freaked out the day before Halloween. I feel it is my duty to teach them that it's just a kid under the mask and they have nothing to be afraid of. If you look closely at the photo above, two little hands are firmly grasped in mine. These two kids just wouldn't let go, I couldn't even take a picture, because letting go of their hand sent them into hysterics. But by the end they were both fine and smiling. They played at the carnival without my by their side and had a great time.

My carnival "booth" was face painting. I always volunteer for the face painting and do a few pictures like a pumpkin, ghost, heart, paw print etc. It's enjoyable and calm, unlike the other booths. My favorite face painting story came from our friend James, who is a for real artist. He did face painting at a carnival once and decided he wouldn't limit the children's options. He said, just pick anything you want and I'll do my best. He was doing fine until one girl asked for her face to look like a Shetland Pony. . . . ummmm. . . all right then. He said it didn't turn out so well.

Hope you all had a fun Halloween.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ice Racing

This is a photo of a pair of wheels that I built for ice racing years ago. I call them the "cheese grater" wheels. When I put them on the back of my Mustang they threw two rooster tails of ice chips 50' behind the car. Unfortunately that is about all they did, the car never moved very fast with them. Sadly this summer when we were cleaning up I had to throw them away.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Coal Miner

I got a new job in a coal mine.
Actually, I just spent the afternoon cleaning the soot out of someones furnace.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Boating in Ice?

I went out boating last week, the ocean is starting to freeze up. The salt water freezes differently than the fresh water that I grew up with. It gets sort of thick and slushy before it freezes. Sometimes the surface almost seems like rubber.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Tanner

I have heard people say that, as a fur sewer, you develop a very special relationship with your tanner. The sort of relationship you have with your dentist or a family doctor. You trust them, are loyal to them and highly recommend them others. This is how I feel about my tanner, Angelo of Angelo's Tannery.

I first heard about him from someone who had had a good experience getting his musk ox hide tanned. He recommended a man named Angleo. Only a few tanneries will bother with the very long hair on a musk ox skin, and Angelo is one of them. So a few years ago, I sent him an old dried out hide that Brian Crockett had given me. Angelo did wonders for it. He soaked it in his special stuff and scrapped it, soaked it and scrapped it, until it was beautiful. It was the hide that would later become C.O.'s parka lining.

Angelo is wonderful in so many ways, he does beautiful work, has very good prices, does his work by hand, but the best thing about him, is his accent. He's from Greece you see, and has the most wonderful way of saying things. Both his accent and his phrases are adorable. For instance, shortly after sending him our most recent furs, Angelo called. One of the hides was not scrapped very well (we're far from being experts) and he would have to do some extra work and charge us $50 for his time.
"No problem," I said, "I understand."
"Yes, o.k., you are very wonderful lady," replied Angelo. =)

I'm so fond of him that I even sent him a Christmas card a couple years ago. If I should find myself in Clackamus, Oregon some day, my dream is to stop by and visit good ol' Angelo.

We recently sent off two hides to be tanned. They should be returned to us shortly. We just heard from Angelo and he said they look wonderful.