Wood

Birch

Wood in the Aleutians has always been gathered off the beaches.  Driftwood.  It has drifted here from somewhere else; somewhere that has trees.  Because we don’t have trees.  And we really don’t miss them.  They tend to block the view.  They are slightly claustrophobic.  They blow down in the wind.  Considering the fact that we have no trees, wood held a prominent position in our traditional culture.  The most mathematically engineered boat ever constructed was made out of found wood.  Our iqyan (kayaks) are considered  second to none.  The bentwood hunting visor was made out of found wood.  Masks for ceremony, dancing, and storytelling were made out of wood.  Tool handles were made out of found wood.  Bowls and utensils were made out of wood.  If you wanted to waste a good, huge piece of found wood, you could have used it for building part of your semi-subterranean dwelling; otherwise you could use a whale rib.

We scour the beaches for cottonwood.  It is the only wood my family supposedly uses for making smoked salmon.  I say supposedly because my mother and I  say to each other “Yes, that’s cottonwood.  Well, I’m pretty sure that is cottonwood.  Hmmm…maybe that is cottonwood.”  Anyway the fish is good.  As times change and our town becomes more populated, of course more people are going after the wood resource.  It’s becoming harder and harder to find found wood.  That is when having a husband who works for the airlines and having a sister who lives in Anchorage where they have trees comes in handy.  We have had a couple of lovely shipments of cottonwood from Barbara.  We, of course, share the smoked fish with her.  Her latest shipment was a couple of chunks of birch.  Considering that my husband, Caleb, bought my mom a new wood carving set for Christmas, and my mother and father bought Caleb a new wood carving set for Christmas, I think we will see some magnificent pieces coming to life from this newly found wood.

What to do?

It’s a little blowy and damp out there today.  We have wet snow coming from the southeast.  It’s sticking to the windows.  It is filling up the satellite dish and making the tv channels go in and out.  Visibility is kind of invisible.

Wet snow from the southeast makes for a low visibility day in Unalaska.

We are a bit lazy today.  Still recovering from the holidays and anticipating more with Russian Christmas coming in a few days.  SP has talked his grandpa into making him a DeadMau5 head.  It is a work in progress.  Of course everything grandpa makes costs virtually nothing because the various parts and pieces come from things already used or designated for the dump pile.  Definitely a work in progress.

DeadMau5, in the works.

DeadMau5, in the works.  Simply fascinating.

No resolutions made.

I did not make New Year resolutions this year.  I have decided they don’t really work for me.  I guess I do not have a very resolute personality!  Instead I have decided to take a close look at those things in my life that may need resolution to try to find solutions.  So they are not resolutions.  Just perhaps solutions.

I have rheumatoid arthritis.   I was diagnosed about a year and a half ago.  It took me about 4 months to get an appointment with a specialist.  I gave the prescribed drug a try….over one year’s worth, mind you.  I felt worse on it than I remembered when I wasn’t taking it.  So my solution, at this point, has been to discontinue the program and find something more holistic for myself.  Which is what I am all about anyway, and I can’t believe I let myself be talked into a prescription medication.

My solution:  cleansing my body of toxins.  I feel so much better.  And it has only been about 2 1/2 weeks.  My pain level has decreased.  My activity level has increased.  Oh, and I have lost a few pounds, too, which is a bonus!

I live in a very small house.  I did not do a very good job at  weeding out possessions when moving from large to small to smaller.  And every time I get resolute about making more room for us humans in the house, I come across things like this: 

Really, how can I not have my favorite picture of my first grandson and I.  And the Russian Orthodox triptych…given to me by my godsons.  The shell tree – made by my youngest daughter.  The whalebone ptarmigan and the ivory sea otter.  Good grief, those, perhaps unlike the others, will never go….made by my mother Gert Svarny.

I believe I will try some small, unobtrusive storage boxes.  You know, either baskets, or linen covered boxes with lids.  And put stuff away, put the boxes in the closet, and recycle things once in a while.  Hmmmm….I’ll let you know if it works!