Tuesday, July 31, 2012

APU Blogpost #3: Ella Tonuchuk


Thursday, July 26, 2012

I'm on it!

So my landlord died suddenly and tragically. The Care Cottage was also shut down permanently. More on that later. For now I have been relocated to APU campus apartments. I'm so happy! 'Thank you so much Beth, and everyone in housing. I even got some bedsheets and towels loaned to me. Beth kindly lent me some blankets, dishes and utensils too.

Now I'm closer to all the good eats on Tudor (of course I'm closer to work, but food really matters). "Good eats" includes fellow FAI intern Josephine's house. Josephine, who is Yup'ik, usually goes by "Mussy," which in turn is derived from her Yup'ik name, "Mass’aluq."

By the way, this reinforces my little notion that Native people everywhere all seem to have two or more names (Mussy herself and Sherman Alexie can back me up on this one). Mine happens to be "Dis-Dis," which comes from ałk'ésdisí, the Navajo word for "candy." The word refers only to hard candy. "Like peppermints," my aunt explained over the phone, "Ałk'ésdisí comes wrapped and the plastic is twisted at both ends."

As a toddler, my paternal grandma used to babysit me. "Ayoo ałk'ésdisí ííyą," she said one day. "S
he eats so much candy." They began calling me "Disí." It soon evolved into "Dis-Dis," which is what everyone uses today. I will only allow family to call me that. I find I do not respond well when acquaintances use it; it is devoid of the familial love and affection.

I do not have a Navajo given name, but that's okay. I'm fine being "Dis-Dis," because I was raised as Dis-Dis.  To this day, when I enter the room, at least one person will shout "Dis-Dis!" and everyone will do welcome laughs.

My cousin Tyler also has a Navajo nickname. He's known as "Chxoosh" because of his hair, which sticks up everywhere.

Back on topic now... Let's see, I did struggle a bit with relocating, but anyway, last night's dinner of fish egg soup at Mussy's house set me right. We had freshly-made akutaq afterward for dessert.

While the soup simmered, Mussy mixed strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and handpicked salmon berries with several handfuls of shortening, water, and sugar. She'd already prepared akutaq using quagciq, or beach greens, and I tried some of that as well. That was delicious. It tasted like a mildly-sweet tea. (Those were the beach greens we'd picked the month before. She'd just frozen them since then.)

This is fish egg soup.

This is the akutaq containing the type of beach greens known as quaciq.

The newly-prepared akutaq with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and hand-picked salmon berries.

APU Blogpost #2: Jorie Paoli


Thursday, July 19, 2012

APU Blog Post #1: Bobby Dunno


Writer's Block

Writer's block is not so much stressful as it is escapist. I'm a known escapist. I didn't say "escape artist." I'm terribly clumsy. Anyway, writer's block seem to cause changes in my daily habits. It is terribly familiar. Work shouldn't feel like college, it should feel different! I found myself making true attempts to be healthier, so as to somehow purge my body of whatever was bogging me down. It might be a step for the better because I feel lighter.

One relevant issue I have is with the draft edits. So extensive they were that I wanted to re-evaluate everything I had ever learned. Ah, perfectionism at its finest. In spite of receiving edits and criticism in college, all the work was initially written for professors' eyes only. Don't we sometimes just mold our work to please just the professor? Some weeks it just happens that way. It's unhealthy for your writing, people. Try to write for the world...!

Writing for school is one thing, sharing your writing with the world is quite another. Of course you need edits. You need all the help you can get!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Busy Day Yesterday

I ran around Anchorage yesterday. Or rather, Victoria chaffeured me around Anchorage. That word is too calm. I thought she was suicidal. I think she probably knows how to drift. Did two APU alumni interviews (Ella A. Tonuchuk from FAI and Sarah Johnson from Alyeska Pipeline), a tour of a corporate building, and attended a AK Native conference. I was happy to have done so. It was worth all the effort and listening. My brain was brimming with information by the end of the day. (If my mom were sitting next to me she'd tell me it had just earned a few more wrinkles.) I think my two hours of rest last night have helped me to digest half of it. I took a nap when I returned and it only made me stay up until 4:44 a.m.

For the moment, I have to contact Albert Kookesh. I have done the first part and researched him online this morning. What I would actually be nervous about would be forgetting to ask about important details, since he is busy and might be difficult to contact later on.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I have been wanting to put my Saturdays to good use. Some Saturdays were absolutely terrible because of my low energy levels. I remember having the toughest time in June because of the headaches. I thought I was having terrible allergies. Beth, my supervisor, was so kind and went out of her way to buy me curtains. It was lovely of her and she saved the day, because after that, my headaches stopped.  I had been using an eyemask, but I guess my body was not fooled into believing the room was dark.

Some days, it is no use cycling around Anchorage. Now that I've been to Seward and Homer, Anchorage is not enough. The World Eskimo Indian Olympics is in Fairbanks from July 18-21st. If only I could somehow get there!

Let's think. Phillip Blanchett told me about the Kaladi Bros. Pamyua blend, so I supposed I could hunt that down. It appears to be limited release so only a few shops are selling it. Heck yes, I'm up for experiencing the encore of flavor. What better way to enjoy Alaska than to chillax with a hot brew inspired by an award-winning Alaska Native band? It puts Denny's rockstar menu to shame. Pamyua touches bases with fans because of the effort they put into creating and developing the blend and the bag. Blanchett said they would frequently visit with Kaladi do coffee flights of the proposed flavors. Pamyua was looking to interpret their namesake, which means "encore," and took steps to incorporate the finishing touches. Blanchett described the finished product as "medium-bodied with a nice, chocolatey finish that comes and hits you right at the end, and you say 'Mmm, that's good.'" He described himself as a "coffee-snob" and said he worked closely with graphic designers to get the bag made to their specifications, demonstrating that band promotions are also creative works of art.

That's it, I'm taking a shower and leaving! I actually feel like doing the downtown market today. Shopping sounds like an excellent idea. There is a Kaladi Bros. there (although I heard they don't carry "Pamyua." Yes, I asked around). I hope to ride to Earthquake Park again by bike before I leave Anchorage for home. Why do I feel like I haven't gone out in ages? I was at the park last week having fun at the beach. Wow, the work week sure slowed time down!