Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Financial Plan

C.O. and I have some very defined financial goals for this coming year. I guess you could call it our new year's resolution, to get ahead on our finances. As part of the plan we listed out some ways to save and make money. Thought it would be fun to share them here. Some are fairly conventional, other's have a definite Alaskan flair.

First, how we are saving money.

1) We hang nearly all our laundry to air dry.
Saving on electrical costs and wear and tear on clothing.
We pay $.36 per kilowatt hour for electricity.

2) Burning wood as supplemental heat for the house.
With fuel oil at $7.00 per gallon, this is a no brainer.

3) Baking our own bread. I enjoy making bread anyway,
so I plan to avoid buying bread at the store. It's
also healthier and tastes so much better.

Second, how we are making a little extra money. We have a pretty good inventory of things that are money making opportunities. Here's a few:

1) The first are my crafts. I actually do pretty well selling my
handwork at teacher in-services, to my co-workers and by word of mouth.
I plan to be more proactive about finding buyers. I
recently signed up for Nome Announce as another avenue for
making a little extra. Folks use Nome Announce to sell, buy and make
community announcements. I just listed my first items for sale .

2) Qiviut We had a couple musk ox hides tanned last fall.
After they are tanned I comb out the under hair, the qiviut
and sell it to a spinner for $20 per ounce. That's $320
per pound! It's great money though it does takes a long time to
comb out an entire pound.

Beautiful isn't it? It's softer than cashmere and very warm.

3) The hide is also for sale.
$1200 if anyone is interested. =)
We sold one in December and hope to sell this one soon.


Sunday, January 25, 2009


The evolution of automotive styling is an interesting study. Many features that are added to race cars for performance reasons trickle down to passenger cars. Unfortunately their original use seems to be forgotten.

Race cars normally have a large diameter exhaust pipes to allow the engine to breath easily. When this feature is done on passenger cars it is frequently only the very end of the exhaust pipe that is enlarged. This makes the car look "cool" but does not add any actual performance.

A rear wing or spoiler is another commonly copied item that is seen on the race track and on many street cars. On the race track it serves the very important purpose of keeping the back end of the car on the ground. At high speed most automotive body shapes produce lift similar to an airplane wing, without the "spoiler" on the back end the vehicle would lose traction and spin out.

I wonder if the driver of this limo is worried about high speed handling?

Friday, January 23, 2009

An Alien Murder

One of the Christmas presents from Grandma Mary this year was some roll on body paint. It’s meant to be used at bath time and is great fun for Harold.

The other day, Harold was playing with this apple green body paint that had just arrived in the mail. When I walked in the bathroom, it was quite the scene. There was a green gel-like substance strewn up the shower walls, smeared on the tub and the water had taken on a green tint.

It looked like an alien had been violently murdered in our bathtub.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Picture of the Day - USS Torsk

Here is a photo of the USS Torsk, a decommissioned WWII submarine that is docked in the Baltimore Inner Harbor. The Torsk's claim to fame is that it torpedoed the last ship to be sunk by a torpedo in WWII. The ship was a small Japanese frigate, sunk on August 14, 1945.

The few times that I have seen an old sub up close, I am always surprised at how unstreamlined they seem? The surface of the hull has lots of holes, bumps, hatches, and other features that look like they would produce a lot of drag.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Good Little Traveler

We are so fortunate that Harold is such a wonderful traveler considering the amount we are on the go. He is great about sleeping whenever and where ever he gets a chance, being woke up at odd times and being crowded in tiny spaces with all three of us in two airplane seats (never again now that he's two, he gets his own seat, which means an entire row for the Rudstroms. Yeah for comfort, boo for having to purchase a third ticket).

Anyway . . . one of Harold's great talents is being able to fall asleep anywhere when it's time for a nap. In the photos below, the airport was relatively quiet and empty but he's also slept in the middle of crowds with announcements blaring next to him over the loud speaker. Our routine is to tell Harold it's nap time, give him his whale, lay him down where there's room, then pound on his back till he's asleep. Pounding sounds harsh, but it relaxes him and he even requests it on occasion.

People say it's hard traveling with kids. Fortunately, it's not the case with Harold. He actually (for the most part) makes it more fun.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday Harold

Today is Harold's birthday. Though we won't be celebrating it today, Harold has had his fair share of fun times revolving around him lately.

Before we left Minnesota, we held an early birthday party so that the four grandparents, two uncles and Great-Grandma Aiti could celebrate with Harold. He had great fun being the center of attention and having all his adoring fans in one place. There was food, a special basketball cake (made by Grandma Cindy), singing, presents and helium filled balloons from Grandma Mary, what more could a two-year-old ask for?

Yesterday we held a party for Harold here in Brevig. We invited a bunch of kids and had a blast playing games and eating cake. The video captures the afternoon well.

Happy Birthday to a very dear two year old!
Mom and Dad

Friday, January 9, 2009

Kohler Generator

I started on a new project yesterday. I salvaged this old generator that was on it's way to the dump. It is a 8.5 kw Kohler, powered by a 18hp Lister diesel. It has sat outside for a few years and the engine has become stuck with a little bit of rust in one of the cylinders. I am going to try to get it fixed up. So far I have taken the top end off of the engine and most of it looks to be in great shape. I think it will only need a simple honing of the cylinders, a new set of rings, new gaskets, and some general cleaning up and adjusting.

It has been a very interesting engine to work on. I am looking forward to hearing it run.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Christmas Sweater

While we were in the process of adopting Harold, I knit him this Christmas sweater. It was my first ever sweater project and I'm very proud of how it turned out. It fit him perfectly this Christmas.


Why do architects get away with such outrageous and expensive designs when they are making airports (and modern churches)? This photo is from our recent travels through the Seattle airport. We had a wonderful meal at the Anthony's restaurant in the main part of the terminal. While having dinner I snapped this photo of the crazy curving wall of glass that makes up one whole side to the building. This design looks great, but it does not seem to be a cost effective, energy efficient, or easy way to build.

For the engineers out there, I took a close up of one of the fittings that holds the glass. On most large windows the glass is nonstructural and simply supported in a frame, but that would be too simple for here. This wall has a slight concave surface, with the glass under compression on the inside of the curve and the cables in tension on the outer surface. It is an amazing design, but I wonder what it cost to construct?


Present Opening

On Christmas Eve, Harold had no idea what opening presents was all about. Within 5 minutes he was a pro and willing to open anyone's gift for them.

Practice and Reinforcement


Monday, January 5, 2009


This photo is of a wheel that I saw on a cart in the airport. We spent a lot of time in airports over the last few weeks. Harold has a lot of fun in airports, big wide hallways to run down, surprisingly a lot of dogs to pet, plenty of time with mom and dad, and of coarse airplanes to look at. After this trip Harold has now been on 34 airplane flights.


Holiday Travel

We had a great time traveling to Minnesota for the holidays, and now we are back in Brevig Mission. We didn't have a chance to update the blog with our busy holiday schedule (and lack of internet service in some of rural MN), but we should be back to regular posts now. AnnMarie gave me a new camera for Christmas and that will help me get back into posting. Our old camera broke a few months ago and I just can't seem to make a post without a photo to get me started.

More to come soon.