Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Document This

As a former Girl Scout, I am a big fan of preparedness. As you can see (i.e. the point of this blog), I like to think things through and make informed, if not overly researched decisions. That's why, I have dedicated this next week to preparing my Living Will and Power of Attorney documents.

A Living Will is a written statement explaining a person's desires regarding their medical treatment in circumstances in which they do not have the ability to express informed consent. Mine is pretty straight forward: pull the plug.

A Power of Attorney document is a legal document giving the authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial matters.
I am giving ultimate control to my sister, Liana.

So there's that...I am not sure what else I need in terms of legal protection...any ideas?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Good News!

I saw a dog today!

Anyway, after careful consideration (and draconian criticism from Scott), I have decided not to terminate my cellular service - yet.

I will be switching my rate plan, but promise to keep the basics (mobile to mobile, text messages, anytime minutes). If you need me, you can call me or text me (up until I really do cancel my cellular service).

(p.s. here are some pictures of my recent LA adventure)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

An Ode To Team

The first gathering of the "Team" occurred several years ago during a last minute camping excursion to Skilak Lake. Since then, our annual camping outings are events legends are made of. Every time we get together, stories come rolling of our tongues...Remember that time when Sarah stood in the fire pit...what about the Ribbon Dance...Who's barking at cop cars?

In years past, the annual Team camping trip has been Memorial Day weekend. This year, we are all spread across the world (two of us are in Europe, two of us are in Nome, several of us are in Anchorage and one or two are in places unknown); however, on this special day, I just want to say thanks for all the good memories and I cannot wait to make more when you all come to visit me while I serve overseas!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Many Mediums

I spend a lot of time plugged in. I love reading online news articles and can't think of a better way to spend four hours than developing my pen tool technique. Recently, someone with a much more level head than I, pointed out the obvious: What if I end up someplace without a reliable source of power and limited computer access? I know this is a possibility, but it wasn't until I received a friendly reminder that I realized these fun and creative activities may become a thing of the distant past.

Oi. Good thing I am getting pretty good at creating things in a variety of mediums. Maybe by the time I leave I will have enough knitting experience to create socks, blankets and wicked sweet sweaters.

(p.s. thanks Josh for the head's up. Facing reality is often not as fun as I thought it would be)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

All Grown Up

For those of you who don't know, I have a younger sister. This past weekend, she graduated from college. And not just any college - she graduated from Occidential. This is the same college a soon-to-be President attended before transferring to Columbia.

I, being true to my namesake, surprised her with an impromptu visit to Los Angeles. I had a great time. I barely slept and spent my days in breath-taking heat (literally, the combination of smoke and sun is killer).

Did I mention there was no shade in the Greek Colosseum where Liana graduated and it was a record setting temperature of 108? Monday I woke up with my third-ever sunburn and hopped on a plane back to Alaska.

(p.s. I also left my camera and cell phone in LA, so you all will have to wait for pictures. This picture is for you Liana)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Woo-Hoo Update

Guess who got mail today?! Me! I would re-type the entire letter, but I know none of you care that much so here is the important part:
Thank you for submitting all the requested medical and dental information to the Office of Medical Services. You have been medically and dentally qualified for Peace Corps service.

Your application will now be considered by the Office of Placement, which matches the experience of medically qualified applicants with the requirements of available assignments. They will notify you directly of their decision.
Woo-hoo is all I can say. This morning, I emailed my Placement Officer and introduced my excited self.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Trekkie For Life

In recent months, I have been making a list of all the things I need to take care before I head off to places unknown.

Leading that list is what to do with my driver's license as it expires in 2010. I barely passed the road test the first time (if I never thanked you before, thanks Mr. Samuels for allowing me to use your van) and I am not too excited about returning to America with an expired license, so what do I do?

Being me, I used Blackle (not Graygle AnnieKate) to find the Anchorage DMV's phone number. A wonderful DMV representative clued me in a neat little thing called a "license extension".

Now, I just need someone to remind me to file for a license extension (good for 1 year) within a year of my license expiring...any takers?

(p.s. Can you guess what the vanity plate on my truck reads?)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Panic at the Disco

Remember all those lovely comments I made about the beauty of email? Well, I am about to take them all back.

This morning I received an "updater" email message from my online ToolKit, indicating the status of my application had changed. Excitedly, I clicked the hyperlink and logged in only to discover the following statement:

Medical - Complete. A decision has been reached regarding your medical review. Please look for a letter in the mail.

This caused my stomach to lurch...ugh. This patience thing is torture. Still, there is no point in worry until I receive the letter. Of course, I will keep you updated.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Head's Up

For those who are wondering what I plan to do with my cell phone, wonder no further !

I plan to cancel my service on May 30th. If you want to talk to me (or text me) before then, call my cell phone. If you want to talk to me after that, email me for my home telephone number. If you really want to get a hold of me, use email (or vmail because it is wicked sweet).

My dad's cell phone will still be active, but he lives in Nome...which means the best way to get a hold of him is to physically track him down as he makes his afternoon trek to the post office.

Unrelated, yet related, many Peace Corps Volunteers have cell phones. There is hope yet.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Ride

This blog is dedicated to Stan Morgan and Bering Air.

I am a regular at Bering Air (I am days away from negotiating my own coffee cup at the coffee counter). Over the last 2 months, I have visited 13 villages in the Norton Sound region and all but two of my many here and there flights have been on locally owned and operated Bering Air.

Of course, March and April are not the best times to fly in western Alaska (the weather is at its worst). Luckily, I have only been grounded in two villages (Elim and Diomede). Both times, awesome Bering Air pilots arrived just in the nick of time (that being the point where I have exhausted all options to relieve boredom) and whisked me away. If it weren't for Bering Air's unsurpassed customer service, safety ratings and all around generally neat crew, I would probably still be in Diomede, learning how to line crab and being stalked by polar bears.

Thanks Bering Air (and I will see you tomorrow when I go to Wales)!

(p.s. the island behind the airplane is Russia's Big Diomede)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Biggest Peace Corps' Fear - Renewed

O! My poor hair.

A former PC Volunteer, currently teaching in Shaktoolik, struck the fear of head lice into me with a story about another PC Volunteer who had to shave her head after contracting a horrific case of head lice.

Here's what I found:
  • A single head lice is a louse and a louse egg is a nit
  • A louse takes 7 days to mature and can lay 8 eggs a night
  • Scalp irritation ranges from mild to severe
  • Head lice feed on blood every 4 to 6 hours
  • Wetting your head prior to treatments temporarily stuns a louse
  • Treatment should continue for 2 weeks and be combined with a special nit comb

Black Beauty and Hair

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ever Been Weathered In?

Being grounded in a community because of weather is pretty common in Alaska. In Diomede, it's a foregone conclusion. Not a big deal, except when I checked into my flight, the Bering Air Agent kindly informed me that I was probably taking the last plane of the year.

Diomede (a small island in the Bering Sea) is the farthest west point in the US (Russia's Big Diomede is 2 miles away). Since the village is built on the side of a mountain, access to the community is limited to helicopter and boat; however, some genius got the great idea that when the sea ice freezes, a runway could be built. Thus, Diomede has a runway for half the year.

So, the Bering Air Agent did not freak me out with her news...well, not until I heard the helicopter has been broken since January...

Anyway, if I was more adventures and less scared of polar bears (two have been sighted since I have been here), I would walk over and touch Big Diomede. Until then, I am happy to spend my time designing a desktop background for my sister, catching up on my sleep and hanging out with the wicked sweet locals.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Chomping At The Bit

I am in love with the immediate gratification of high-speed internet and email.

Yesterday, I received an email from the Peace Corps indicated a change in my application status. Of course, I immediately logged in to my online Toolkit and reviewed the status of my application. I was elated to find out that I have been dentally cleared and there are no dental holds on my account.

Thanks Roni & Dr. Stang for helping with my dental paperwork!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Savin' the Planet

To protect my new camera, I recently order a Mountainsmith Cyber II Recycled Camera Case from Moose Jaw [dot] com. It's made from recycled PET, feels really durable, is water resistant and weights next to nothing. I think it's pretty radtacular. It might be a little small, but so is my new camera. My only problem now is what to do with all the extra cords?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Just Hanging Out?

Although, it would be spectacular to just hang out, I'm staying busy. It's not hard to find a great job and fun activities to do in Nome, especially with summer just around the corner!

Right now, I am Youth Development Specialist at Kawerak, Inc (that's why I travel so much) and I lifeguard part-time at the Nome Pool. I have been a lifeguard since I was a junior in high school (I swam my very first lap at the Nome Pool) and almost eight years later, here I am again!

For the past month, I have been helping teach an American Red Cross Lifeguard Training course. This past Sunday was the dreaded exam day and, if I do say so myself, everyone did quite well. Here are some pictures of a test taker executing a perfect "Scenario 3" rescue!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

KL2KV - That's Me!

Two weeks ago I began studying my tushy off to pass my Technician Class amateur (ham) radio exam. Last week, I passed my exam with flying colors and now I am a new ham radio operator!

Today, I bought my first radio. I have named it Comm (in honor of the "communications channel" in Star Trek).

For those who are interested, my call sign is KL2KV. My dad passed his test over a month ago so we could use it at Topkok. His call sign is KL2JK. The neat thing about Topkok was how we juiced up our radio's battery - with solar panels attached to our tiny cabin's exterior (check out the cabin at Topkok)!

For those who wonder why I went out and became a ham: It is important to stay busy while you wait for the Peace Corps to finish reviewing all your paperwork. My new radio promises to be loads of fun, eats up lots of time, and is a good investment in emergency preparedness. It is the perfect distraction in the "waiting game".

For more information on becoming a ham, visit QRZ.COM.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

And the minutes tick by...

Good thing I am working on developing my patience and waiting skills. This sitting by the mailbox and waiting thing would get annoying if I wasn't so busy.

Next week, I am headed to Wales and Diomede (my fingers are crossed that the runway doesn't float away). After that, hopefully I will spend some time finished up art projects and preparing for my eventual departure.