Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The more you know...

My once-editor Joel Gay used to constantly remind me of a saying ... you know what you know, and you think you know what you don't know, but you don't know what you don't know. In journalism, we are often leaning on statistics to make sense of the world - and the statistics say that Alaska Natives are by-and-large a disadvantaged group. What I found last weekend when I attended the Alaska Federation of Natives Conference in Anchorage was something entirely different. I found thousands of people who were proud, passionate, and poised - beautiful, well-spoken, insightful and incredibly connected to one-and-other. I have never seen so many people hugging each other. Goodness! I was humbled by it all and inspired, too.
Getting to the conference, however, in my post-Olive reality, was another story. Matt's been out of town visiting family for a couple weeks and I've had the kids, so I had to piece together a hodge-podge of people and events to take care of it all. It almost would have been easier to just take them with me, but I'm glad to have had the chance to experience AFN and take it all in without the distraction of motherhood. Plus, I got to visit with Jerzy and Paula in Anchorage, and that was fantastic.
This week also marked the culmination of a month of triple-dipping on the work front - freelance jobs, topped with the library job, topped with the new gig for the Arctic Sounder - zoiks. But somehow, by leaning on a lot of friends and eating a lot of crappy food, and neglecting my children to some extent, I made it through. It feels a lot lighter now, though it's still a lot, and the library job needs some attention, for sure.
It's also been a busy time in high-tunnel world. The tunnel arrived the same day Olive announced she was leaving so I haven't even blogged about it. 5,000 pounds of steel took less than an hour for six of us to unload, and then we had a lovely dinner and celebrated the victory of getting the structure here all the way from Ohio. Now, of course, there's that small matter of assembly. So I have 120 days to get this thing up in the air so I can get reimbursed.
The first step is to lay the whole thing out. It's pretty important that it go up level to maintain stability, and we spent some time working on that. Then searching for fence posts that we can sink into the ground and lash the posts to - we found some in Soldotna for cheap - yay! Then the matter of setting up batter boards and finding the square commenced. Holy crap. That is not an easy process. Mike and I spent two (cold and rainy) days slogging around the perimeter of the high tunnel pad moving strings and finessing it into square. Making matters worse, it is very, very muddy right now - the kind of mud that sucks your boots off and renders you somewhat unsteady at all times. Not bliss by any stretch. I finally put down boards around the perimeter to make a path. Then we marked off where the posts should go meticulously with a plumb bob and a piece of wire. The next step is to sink everything into the ground. That will be very, very interesting. I'm more than a little intimidated. But for now, time to write a paper. Onward!

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