Last week in Shishmaref

The good, the bad, and the tasty this week.

The bad. We heard that every year about this time, there is a lice breakout. I don’t know enough about lice to know if the eggs hibernate until a certain temperature, or what happens. I have learned more about lice this year than I ever wanted to know! The only bugs that I have seen up here are flies and tiny red spiders that live outside. We missed the short window of mosquitoes in the summer. This has been an unusual year in the sense that there have been several outbreaks of lice. It has become such a big issue that they are shutting the school down next week, during our spring break, to thoroughly clean. It’s a bit of a drag for us because we shower and do laundry at the school. Fortunately, we have a friend who lives in a house with running water, so we’ll have a backup plan. Makes me itchy every time I think about it.

The good. We saw the most amazing display of northern lights last week. The lights, when visible, can be seen anywhere from 11 p.m. to 3 or 4 a.m. Those are sleeping hours for us. The first time we saw the lights, it was because someone pounded on the door to wake us. Last week, I was shocked awake by Jack jumping up out of bed exclaiming “the lights” as he looked out our bedroom window. Apparently, people were banging on our door and throwing snowballs at our bedroom…I didn’t hear any of it.

I didn’t bother taking my camera out because I didn’t think I could capture them. You’d think because we are so far north, the aurora borealis would be seen all the time. Because of the path of the lights, this has only been the third night this winter that we’ve seen a decent display of the aurora. Imagine looking up at the sky and seeing greenish swirls above and all around. By the horizon, we saw just a hint of purple in the lights. They traveled and moved swiftly. They are said to dance. They curved and morphed from streaks to bands before my eyes. Beautiful and amazing.

The tasty. The week ended with pecan turtle bars. A soft butter cookie base with a buttery, sugary, carmel-y layer covering chopped pecans. The whole cookie was then blanketed with swirled melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. They were cut in small pieces in order to enjoy one or two with less guilt. Oh, my!