It was hard.

It was hard to see her like that.

It has been a long time since I saw her and seeing her brought back a flood of awful memories and tears.

Tears rolled down my cheeks

I was angry.

Again.

why?

I thought I was okay. I thought I was moving forward.

but seeing her again like that

brought me back to when I was an angry, angry teenager and I wanted to bury myself

into my obnoxiously loud music, scream into my pillow and escape. But escape where?

No matter where I go she’s there. she’s always there.

I feel like I will never be able to move on with my life until I completely cut her off.

But why?

Why do I have to feel like the bad guy?

All I am doing is trying to take care of myself. Better myself. Heal myself.

But I feel like the bad guy.

What is so wrong about trying to be healthy? Happy?

All my life she has tore me down. Called me the most horrific names and I am talking

horrific. Adults should never say those words, especially to their children. I don’t care

how intoxicated a person is they should never, ever call their children the names that my

mother has called me for almost my entire childhood, and adult life.

But it will always be hard to see her like that.

No matter the day.

The time.

Place.

I wrote the blog post above almost 3 years ago and couldn’t finish it. Thats how hard it was to see her that way. But thankfully I am in a much better place that I was then and have been able to move forward. For a long time I was stuck in the same place and I couldn’t seem to get past it. But I made it and everyday I work on getting better and better so that I can give my daughter and children the best possible life they deserve.

 

 

Where do I even begin…

Its been a whirlwind of travels since July 23rd! Whew!

Where do I even begin?!

I quit my job July 21st and I was on the plane en route to Kotzebue to Camp Sisualik to be a camp counselor for a week! It was such an ahhmazing experience! Camp Sisualik is 14 miles northwest of Kotzebue and a former village and it is still currently a summer camp. It was such a wonderful experience! I taught the kids fish skin tanning. Taught them how to take a good Yup’ik hut maqii. We went out on a hike. Berry picking. The kids were able to check the white fish net. We played some native youth olympics. Made fireweed/bluerry and fireweed jelly. The students collected and made a traditional oil using stinkweed, fireweed flowers, and blueberry leaves. And the students got to just play! There were 10 girls and 6 boys from Kotzebue who made it to camp. Did I mention I was teaching the kids Inupiaq? Or what I learned from the book and shared with the kids. It was such a crazy, wonderful experience! I dont know if I would camp counsel again but it was one for the books!

After camp! I was home for an evening and then right back on the plane the next day to Nome to teach a qaspeq class to the students at the Rural Providers Conference. It was such a wonderful time! I was able to cenirtaq lots with family and friends. Berry pick. Fishing. Get some pro style pictures from my talented friend. And then I was able to share the art of cutting qaspeqs to 23 students from the Norton Sound region! It was such a wonderful experience! I also took the time to speak to our Senator Lisa Murkowski about the heroin epidemic affecting the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta. I urge you if you are concerned to call her office, send her an email, write a letter. Share your concerns with those who have the ability to make waves. Enough is enough. It it is time to take back our communities and protect our future generations.

After Nome! It was home sweet home. For about a week 🙂 I was able to work on some orders before I was right back on the plane heading back to Bethel to teach a class and get lotsa of visits in. I was able to squeeze in three maternity photo shoots! I am not an expert but I am able to point and shoot and try and find good lighting. It was so much fun! I am learning lots and definitely feel like I am improving on my skills. I was able to get out and berry pick for blueberries and tundra tea. And then I taught a class to 6 students and it was wonderful! Everyone was able to make 2 in the class and we had a blast! The weather was raining and windy so it made for a perfect day to be inside sewing.

After Bethel! I was home only for a day before I was right back on the plane the next day to Takotna to teach fish skin tanning at Spirit Camp. I was so thankful for Takotna Community Association for reaching out and making it possible. It was such a wonderful experience! There were 16 students from Takotna, 16 students from McGrath, and 4 students from Nikolai! I was thankful for my Soldotna friends for saving me halibut I was able to bring halibut with me for the students to tan. The water level was so HIGH the students werent able to catch any silvers. It was such a wonderful week with the students. They berry picked. Fished. Hiked. Fish skin tanned. Made survival shelters. Ethical wildcrafting. Knot tieing. Packed water. Chopped wood. Stacked wood. And so much more! It was such an ahhmazing experience! I am so thankful I was able to make it up there and be at my other other home 🙂 I hope to make it again!

After Takotna! Home sweet home! Whew. I am finally home, rested and ready to plan for the fall classes and trips. We are also in the process of home improvements which include painting, new flooring, and light fixtures. I am hoping to make it to new places this fall to teach classes! If you are interested in having me come to teach a class in your community please send me an email sewyupik@gmail.com

I will share more photos of qaspeqs and make up bags I have finished in the last couple days. But for now back to sewing!

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Choose to be happy and healthy!

End the cycle, here.

The cycle ends with me. I choose to stop the cycle. The cycle of generational trauma is on repeat. And WE need to do something to stop the cycle. Not the government. Not the schools. Not the tribal councils. But WE as a family. Community. It has to start in our homes. Aunties and uncles homes. Friends homes. And it needs to happen sooner than later before we continue to lose more of our family members to alcohol, drugs, suicide, domestic violence, and so much more.

As an adult child of an alcoholic, everyday is a battle. But I am dealing with it the best way I know how. It may not be the right way but it is the only way I know, and for now it has been working. For now. Growing up I never wanted to seek help because I thought I had it covered. I kept telling myself I was fine and nothing was wrong with me. It wasn’t until my later adult years I realized I wasn’t fine. I wasn’t okay. Something was wrong with me and I couldn’t figure it out. I was an angry kid, angry teenager, and it carried into my early adult years. I refused to deal with my emotions and I turned to alcohol and chew. But then there was a turning moment in my early 20s when I realized I didn’t want to be anything like her. And that’s when I knew. I knew that the cycle would end with me. I will refuse to be an alcoholic parent. I will refuse to be a verbally abusive parent. I will refuse to make my children live in fear, every single damn day of their lives.

I know that when the time comes for me to be a mother I will never, ever, ever put my children thru what I was put thru as a child, teen, adult. No child should ever have to hear those words, be treated with such hate and anger, or live in a constant state of fear. No child should ever have to put a restraining order on their parent. No child should ever have to be scarred for life for the hateful words that were spewed in a drunken screaming match.

 

But.

 

I am not bitter. Angry. Hateful. Sad. I do not feel like I am a victim. I am grateful. I am grateful for the person I am today. I am motivated, and determined. I have a raging desire to find my pursuit of happiness every single damn day. My childhood was a mess. But as an adult I have a choice to dwell in the past or make the best of every day. I choose to make the best of everyday. I choose to smile. Laugh uncontrollably. Cry when I feel a wave of emotions overcome my body. I am not ashamed anymore to show my emotions. They have been in hiding for 20 years. No more hiding.

 

So please.

 

Choose the path that is right for you. But please do not continue the cycle of abuse. You can stop it for your generations to follow. Think of your children. Grandchildren. Great-grandchildren. But mostly for yourself. Because in the end you have to live with yourself. Your mind, body, and soul every single day and you have to be healthy for you. Not for anyone else, but yourself.

 

But for me.

It ends with me.

I choose to be healthy.

The cycle ends here.

 

 

Fireweed Jalapeno Jelly

First the fun part is gathering the fireweed petals. Try and pick away from the roads so they are not super dusty or dirty. You just have to be careful of the bees I usually just talk to them and tell them to find a new petal. Gather enough petals to fill 8 cups.

Once you’ve gathered enough fireweed petals then you will put the 8 cups and I usually just add enough water so it covers the petal. I have read other recipes that use 4 cups or 4 1/2 cups of water so just depends on how you want to go about it. You boil the flowers until they are a whitish color.

Once the flowers are a nice whitish color then you strain out the flowers. I use a potato masher and mash the flowers down to get all the juice out of the flowers. Then you can discard the flowers and you should have a nice reddish juice.

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On medium heat you bring the juice to a boil then I add my 1/4 cup of lemon juice. And then I will start to add the sugar. There are different recipes that call between 4-6 cups of sugar. I had a lot of juice so I ended up using 6 cups of sugar. I will add the cups of sugar one by one until the sugar dissolves.

This recipe I used 4 jalapenos and 2 sets of seeds.

Caution! Use gloves when cutting jalapenos. I thought I could wing it and not use gloves and I am still feeling it on my fingers. Oh! And just a tip for you and maybe for me take your contacts out BEFORE you cut the jalapenos. Not After. Big mistake. My eyes are still burning from last night hahaha!

After I add all my cups of sugar I will let it come to a rolling boil. Once it does I then add the jalapenos and the two packets of Sure jell. I let that come to a rolling boil for a minute and then I ladle it into my sterilized jars.

There are a couple ways to sterilize jars. You can throw them in the dishwasher and sterilize them that way. I usually just throw them in two pots of boiling water on the stove top and then let them sit and cool until I ladle in the jelly.

I always garnish my fireweed jelly with fresh picked flowers. They look pretty when you open them. And they gel nicely in the jelly. If it sets the first time. Which unfortunately this did not set this morning after a hot water bath for 15 minutes. So I am going to wait a couple days and if it still does not set I will have to re boil it and add one more cup of sugar and one more packet of pectin. It is a hit or miss with fireweed jelly some years it sets overnight and other times it doesn’t set. There is an art to making jelly!

Happy Jelly making!

There are many different variations of fireweed jelly. You can add raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, or any other kind of berry. If I pick enough I am going to try and make fireweed spruce tip jelly. And one year I also made fireweed, cinnamon and all spice jelly.

May the jelly be with you!

Happy Harvesting! And always leave something behind for the plants or thank them if you have nothing to give them. If you have water give them a little water. And don’t over pick save some to grow next year.

Fireweed Tuesdays

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I finally got enough energy to finish two qaspeqs last night! Whew. I think I finally recovered from my whirlwind of a weekend.

Weekend consisting of fishing and berry picking, and berry picking.

And then this afternoon on my quick lunch break I was able to pick a bucket full of fireweed. I am hoping to make fireweed jalapeno jelly, fireweed raspberry and another variation of fireweed jelly before Saturday.

My next few weeks are going to be insane! I head to Kotzebue July 23-31 to visit with family and be a camp counselor at Camp Sisualik! Which I am so excited about!

Then I get home for a day and then head back the next day to Nome for 4 days to teach a qaspeq class at the Rural Providers conference.

And then I am home for about 10 days and then off to Bethel for a week!

Whew! I will be excited once all my travels are done. And I can finally relax and continue working thru my orders.

Life is wonderful! Especially when you fill with smiles, positivity and laughter!

Milky Chance Thursdays Kick Butt!

Thursdays are soo much better when they include Milky Chance, dancing tushies, headaches from too much smiling, achy feet from dancing like a maniacand ahhhmazing friendships.

I did the 4 hour road trip so I can catch this amazing concert by Milky Chance at Mooses Tooth. So WELL worth it! Although my head hurts from too much laughing and shitty grins. Calves hurt from dancing my birks off. Butt hurting from sitting in the car for 2 hours. And too many damn selfies!

Of course when I got home I had to snuggle with Mr. Mac! Its been three years since we got this cute Walker hound dog and I just love him!

Happy Thursday! I am off this weekend to venture out for berries, fish, tundra tea, blueberries, purple clovers, and much more!

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesdays Rock!

Wednesdays Rock! when they are filled with fish head soup, fish egg spread, akutaq, pike and seal oil, finishing a qaspeq, and finishing a beautiful wall hanging that I inherited from my mama bear Jeanne.

The fish egg spread was ahhhhhmazing! And now its all gone! In my tummy and I shared with my coworkers and friends! I cant wait to make more.

I was able to finish this lovely qaspeq for one of my first friends in kindergarten. I loved how bright and fun it is!

You cant have fish head soup without the akutaq so I had to make a fresh batch. Akutaq is eskimo ice cream made with Crisco, sugar, milk, and berries. This time I used my fresh blueberries and salmon berries and it tasted scrumdiddlyumptious! Don’t knock it till you try it 🙂

And my mama bear Jeanne gave me this beautiful wall hanging that she was going to toss aside but I gladly snatched it up! The only thing I had to do was add the binding. I love how beautiful and simplistic it is. This is her view from looking out her store in Cooper Landing.

I am hitting the road and heading to Milky Chance this evening in Anchorage. I hope to goodness the roads are not jam packed and I can make it in time to see the show!

Happy Thursday! Seize the day!

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Sleep. Whats Sleep?

Sleep. Whats that?

I haven’t been able to catch a good wink of sleep since the fish, berries, and business have been in full swing! Oh yeah and working full time. But, next Friday is my last day and I am going to pursue my business full time, school full time and hopefully a traveling teacher of qaspeq making.

I got to go home for 4th of July and it was so wonderful! I got to fill my bucket with blueberries and salmon berries! Lots of visits in my with stinkiest nieces and nephews and lots of visits with good friends and family.

I am having some serious berry picking withdrawals seeing all the blueberry picking and salmon berry picking photos. The berries are in abundance this year and I miss the walk to my favorite tundra spot. Urban living is a little different because you have to worry about bears, property lines, and getting lost. Ha! Bethel there is tundra for DAYS. You would be able to see a bear 20 miles away running to you. Haha. And I am not to comfortable being in the woods yet.

Dipnetting on the Kenai is in full swing! I got my first taste of it on Sunday and now I am hooked! I walked away with 3 Kenai River reds and lost about 7. Oops! I am learning this way of fishing which is definitely different from fishing on the Kuskokwim.

I tested out a new sewing pattern Prima Diva Wallet which I had some difficulty with. I don’t know if I will be making anymore. But it was a good challenge.

I had a Homer getaway with the girls which was much needed. We were tourists for the day. Homer is a beautiful place! And it is only an hour drive away which is awesome.

I was able to finish one custom ordered qaspeq with this beautiful Art Gallery buttery fabric. It turned out beautiful!

I was able to whip out some beautiful BB Bags and two of the three are sold. I will post the one that is for sale on the Items for Sale page.

We celebrated Easy E’s 11th birthday yesterday! Cant believe that kid is 11! Its been fun watching him over the last 6 years.

Salmon Life is the way to go. We use everything from the head, heart, eggs, backbone, skin and the whole fish. We don’t waste. I have yet to brine, dry, and smoke my fish because I don’t have a hanging rack, or smokehouse yet. Hopefully this month we will build one and I can take care of the fish in the freezer.

Life is busy. Life is good. I am excited for my next adventure!

Life is too short to be anything but happy! Do what you love. Follow your heart. If your unhappy find what makes you happy and jump. Don’t wait until your retired to do all the things you WISH you could do now. Make a plan and execute it.

Stay tuned for more fun posts! I got berries, fish, outdoor concerts, half marathon fun, and sewing more to come!

Happy Hump Day!

Choose to be Happy

Today, and everyday I choose to be happy.

I refuse to allow anyone’s negativity affect my life in anyway. No more. I wont do it.

Growing up with an abusive alcoholic mother was horrible. Ridiculous. Awful. Sickening. Devastating. Depressing. & Humiliating.

Everyday is still a struggle. But I choose to put a smile on my face, and put one foot in front of the other.

Moving away from home was the best thing for my recovery. Recovery from an abusive, horrible, awful mother who was verbally abusive for the last 20+ years.

I am an adult child of an alcoholic parent. On the inside I am hurting. Hurting a lot. But it gets better as each day passes. I am getting better, or trying to get better.

I am comfortable in telling my story. I don’t break down in tears anymore. And I can laugh about, even if its not funny. Humor is a good thing and I chuckle to myself thinking it hasn’t been an easy road to get where I am today.

I am thankful that I can share my story. Because growing up with a parent who constantly called you a fucking cunt, or a bitch. Or tell you to go spread your legs so other men can fuck you isn’t normal. And its not right. And just because she was in an alcoholic state doesn’t give her an excuse.

Alcoholism is an addiction. Yes. But name-calling isn’t an addiction. It is a choice one makes. And let me tell you from experience those words will never go away. Never. Those words will forever be ingrained my in mind, and I have never been able to forget them. Sometimes I can just hear them echoing in my mind and it makes me sick to my stomach.

I can remember the first time my mom started calling me all those awful names that your parents tell you not to say. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. How? I was only a little girl. Why? Why me? I didn’t understand. And then it never stopped the name calling just got worse. And I got used to it. Until I got bigger and started sticking up for myself.

I deal with my mother the best way that I know. And I wholeheartedly choose to separate myself from her. It is my choice and not anyone else’s. Please don’t tell me how you think I should deal with it. Because if you haven’t been in my situation, or a similar situation where your mother was screaming obscenities at you, and trying to fight you then you don’t know what its like.

I am learning how deal. So please just allow me to deal with it the best possible way I know how. I am doing my best.

I choose to be happy.

Do you?