28 December 2008

Donations?

In case you've been wondering about some places that could use some of your extra Christmas money, these are some great organizations. If you've donated before, you know that anything given before the 31st will be tax-deductible for this year (*subliminal motivation*).


Invisible Children
is trying to help people in Uganda, Africa living in the middle of a 23-year civil war. Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been kidnapping children in efforts to vanquish the government. The children are brainwashed into becoming vicious soldiers while loosing their childhood. IC, like all of these organizations, strives to foster empathy and global awareness.

KARA (Kids At Risk Action) tries to influence the public agenda regarding children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect. Mike Tikkanen apparently is one of the advocates. KARA focuses on promoting support programs for those involved in the child protection system including: mental and physical health, legal and criminal justice, and education.

WildAid has acquired grants to pay for their administrative costs, so that 100% of what you donate is used for their programs. The current programs include conservation awareness, Samlaut, Cambodia (MJP), Galapagos island ecology, activist training, and shark conservation. Their motto is "when the buying stops, the killing can too," advising that people should stop buying items made at the expense of endangered species.

National Council for Support of Disability Issues (NCSD) seems like a very informative and active organization. They are advocates by facilitating employment, legislative improvements, encouraging voting for candidates concerned about people w/ special needs, informing the public about current issues, and promoting recreation.

Greenpeace is currently addressing the issues of global warming, oceans, forests, nuclear energy, and toxics. You don't really have a choice about which of the issues you want to support; you're funds just go into the whole pot. It seems there are always side projects & petitioning to policy makers for law changes. GP has a laundry list of accomplishments from the beginning of their endeavors in 1971.

Kiva organizes micro-loans to people trying to get a business off the ground gaining economic independence. Some of the loans are $175, some $600, etc. Several people can contribute to one loan or you can devise a "team" for lending. These are 0% interest. Entrepreneurs profiles are on the website for you to choose from.* Journal updates are posted on the site & e-mailed to you regarding your personal loan. This is a loan system, so you'll receive repayments, which can be recycled into another loan or cashed out. To date, Kiva has facilitated raising over $540,000,000 worth of micro-loans. ----- *Aparently, Kiva has had a great influx of donations and all of the loans have been met as of right now. However, this is temporary, so keep checking back as new loans are updated hourly. You can also contribute to Kiva for overhead expenses.

Prosperity Rings focuses on helping women become entrepreneurs. They facilitate micro-financing, which is where we come in. Like w/ Kiva, these women are trained in creating a business plan and form groups that keep each other accountable for monitoring their monies and repaying the loans. They do charge interest though.

My friend Sue is participating in "Climb Tampa" 03-21-09;
She is going to climb 42 flights! This is a fund raiser for the American Lung Association which helps to "fight against diseases such as lung cancer, asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease." CLICK HERE to visit her personal web page and contribute towards her fundraising goal of $200. If you're in Florida and feel up to it, go climb with her!

Folks at Stuff White People Like have a list of 17 charities to donate to, 11 w/ descriptions, some which are listed here. A handful of the org. they highlight I am familiar w/ and their work is impressive. They're also planning on donating proceeds from t-shirt sales to one of eleven org. and you can vote about which one you think should get the proceeds. They also have a link to Charity Navigator if you would like to look for more non-profit groups in need.


There are a variety of ways to also help these organizations without donating money. The websites will certainly tell you how. These are just the tip of the iceberg; all you have to do is look for org. in need and you'll find them. If you have any others you like to support, please leave a comment. I'll check it out, at least. ^_^

All of t
he above are classified as "non-profit 501(c )3 organizations."

26 December 2008

African Proverbs

Grassroots is a fair trade store in Anchorage. I bought a friend a desk calendar that has African proverbs in it. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order. Enjoy!

"Every door has its own key." (Swahili)

"The horizon will not disappear as you run towards it." (unknown)

"The heart is a market place." (unknown)

"A butterfly that flies among thorns will tear its wings." (Liberia)

"Never was good work done without much trouble." (Sudan)

"A good wind is no use to a sailor who doesn't know his direction." (Zambia)

"When one mountain is climbed, another one is seen." (Ethiopia)

"If while climbing a tree you insist on going beyond the top, the earth will be waiting for you." (unknown)

"The bird which flaps its wings too much will drop its feathers." (Kenya)

"Where there are two people there is double wisdom." (Zambia)

"A single ear of corn can produce a whole shed full of corn." (Ghana)

"The fuel of the lamp is consumed, yet it provides light for others." (unknown)

"Never compete with the elephant in defecating." (Kenya)

"There is not a tree which has not been swayed by a breeze." (N. Africa)

"A feather is a delicate thing when removed from a bird yet it carries the bird anywhere in the world." (Sudan)

"When the drumbeat changes, the dancers must adapt." (Burkina Faso)

"The heart that truly loves has no room for grudges." (Ghana)

"If you dream of moving mountains tomorrow, you must start by lifting small stones today." (Muritania)


Ten Thousand Villages {Compiled by Annetta Miller 2005. Paulines Publications Africa, Nairobi}

21 December 2008

Back in the Saddle

No, I'm not playing Aerosmith. Well, now I have the song playing in my head. But, lets face it, that's one snazzy subject title.

Yes, it's been 4 months since thine eyes have glanced upon MySpace. It's kind of a strange feeling. Almost as strange as partaking of the fruits of this Root:1 Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile (now 2/3 down the bottle & quitting) or driving or streets or going to a movie (I watched "Seven Pounds") or people watching in a mall. Some of these experiences I'm content to live without, really I could do without all of them. Yet I still find the need to "check" every now & then. Anyway, I'm enjoying exploring what is daily life to some, a spectacle to me at this point.

Long story short, I'm in Anchorage for almost 4 more days than I expected. Seattle had some bunk weather & crosswinds. By the time we were back on the plane, after de-boarding prior, the crew had timed-out, literally it was a matter of less than 10 minutes, & our flight was canceled. This was a 9 hour ordeal. I was able to visit w/ some folks also waiting to get out + get a mini-European history lesson from Duane. The next available flight is the 24th, which I'm re-booked on. I'd rather be in NC, but Anchorage is a pretty nice town.

Oh, happy winter solstice! Here in Alaska, this day marks the upslope towards seeing our friend, the sun, return. It will only be about 1 minute a day, moving towards up to 10-15 minutes a day increase until we are once again "the land of the midnight sun".

15 December 2008

"Unbearable Lightness of Being"

"What fell to her lot was not the burden but the unbearable lightness of being." ~ Milan Kundera

This has to be my new mantra! I've started to reflect on this semester. Admittedly, I have been rather heavy; in how I have viewed my personal growth & "catching up", my actions w/ others, my pedagogy, school as a system, etc. I realize that the "burden," as Milan points out, can simultaneously, or in the end, intensify the benefit or fulfillment. *fingers crossed* I'm sure everyone reading this has undergone something that was quite difficult: grad school, heartbreak, the challenges of child rearing. I'm not saying I'm going through things That difficult. Though, in short, now I need to be on the flip side, to lighten up. As our holidays are approaching, this lighter mentality has started to seep inside of me, though I'm still feeling the weight. I'm sure some time away from AK will give me more perspective and increase my "lightness of being," though hopefully not as far as being unbearable. ^_^

... I'm not usually one to count down to breaks, but upon winter solstice I'll be in NC. Hip, hip, hooray!

13 December 2008

crunch time

No, I'm not eating cereal. Wrong again, I'm not walking in the snow. Nope, sorry, I haven't taken up wrestling. My fellow teachers probably know what I'm referring to.

It's the end of the first semester; 81/190 days under our belt now. So, over the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of assessing to make sure these little troopers are on track for their academics. The results? We're doing ok. We are approaching the 1/2 way point in their math. Reading "scores" are varied; many are behind, though progress has been made. More are reading at home to supplement what we do here. This is a huge help. And they are kicking tale in writing! This is a subject I think is quite challenging to foster, especially when getting them to write anything is an issue. But, upon grading papers this week, which I have neglected for a while, some of them blew me out of the water & are ahead of the game. *jumping & clicking heels to the side*

Also, we are practicing a mini-musical for the school c-mas program. This is a first for me & definitely a first for them. It's very simple with 9 short songs to familiar tunes along with narration. We have been making some props & they are really getting into it. My fingers are crossed for audible voices & calm nerves once they're on stage this Thursday.

... Friday is the last day of school for 3 weeks. I fly out on Saturday en route to NC. So far, I have a one way ticket. I may be able to go to Korea to visit a friend, given airfare has dropped. Or, I might try to visit a friend in ND {Jenny, expect an e-mail from me soon. *_*}. I may come back to AK a bit early to prep for the 3rd quarter. Decisions, decisions...

30 November 2008

swish, swish… slide… swish, swish... swish, swish…

Today I went skiing for the first time this season! (Cross-country… just in case you’ve forgotten that I live atop flatland.) There have been so many opportune days that I’ve missed so far and I wasn’t going to let that happen today, another windless day. I’ve skied maybe ½ a dozen times, self-taught, and I still feel like I don’t exactly know what I’m doing. It’s not difficult; it just seems I should be using some sort of technique, besides keeping myself from sliding around on the crusty snow. Pederson informed me that I should push back on the skis and just use the poles for balance. I do this, however I’m still seeking the glorious glide. My quest remains.

Around 4:00 I aimed towards Akiuk, 2.5 miles mostly W of Nunap. My plan was to just ski as far as I could for 30 minutes and then come back. By the time I reached my goal, I wasn’t satisfied with the dump being my turning point. Akiuk was just one more lake away really. The air was crisp; everything so still and clear.

Deanna, I stopped by to visit you, but you must have been at school. Subsequently, Vicki was a host for me for about 30 minutes. That was a fun, quick visit. Thanks, Vicki! ^_^ I haven’t seen you in person for a while anyway.

Initially I was thinking that the sun would set around 5:30. Though, on my way over I quickly realized that it was happening at 4:30. I dressed adequately enough, but a little too sparse, especially for the trek back. The hair and part of my hat next to my face became enveloped in frosty ice, my thumbs were a tad numb, and my eyelashes kept freezing. I had to close my eyes to warm them up enough to blink. It was a bit chilly; surprisingly I was still comfortable. The return journey was all during twilight with a blue tint, ground to sky, and still clear. I made it back just before pitch black dark befell around 6ish; my thermometer says it’s -12.5 F. Good times!

P.S. You may already do this, as I do, including reading comments on other's pages. {I'm not a stalker; people are just fascinating & lets face it, I love my friends.} If you haven't looked at the "good vibe bloggers" sites on my list, it's worthwhile to take a peek. They're writing some pretty good stuff these days.
Many are relevant to the area where I live: from 'musings from afar' to 'getting there from here'. Enjoy!

18 November 2008

Put your warm 'dogs' on

A friend of mine sent me this e-mail today w/ this picture taken from what looks like where the steps to my old classroom are. I had forgotten about the Yup'ik saying "akerta-gguq aliimatengqertuq, nengllipiaqatarluni (the sun has gloves on both hands)." In other words, it's going to be cold. Quyana, Liz for the reminder!

This also makes me recall a time when we took the class out for recess & there was this nice slick sheet of ice that we were enjoying sliding on. I noticed a doll frozen beneath, except for it's face & the tips of it's hands. I still have a photo in my Dirty Dolly Collection. The aide, Jamie, working w/ our class told me that this meant there was going to be a long winter. Well, it was.


"A sun dog or sundog (scientific name parhelion, plural parhelia, for "beside the sun") is a common bright circular spot on a solar halo. It is an atmospheric optical phenomenon primarily associated with the reflection or refraction of sunlight by small ice crystals making up cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. Often, two sun dogs can be seen (one on each side of the sun) simultaneously." - James Barthelman wrote this to Liz.

Amendment: I just read someone's blog (Alisha whom I still haven't met) that said the temp. today (11-19) at 12:01 am was 10 below zero in Bethel. This sets a new record, as the old one was set in 1973 at 9 below.
The info. came from the Ntl Weather Service. Expect more broken records this year. I just hope it warms up enough to give us bountiful snow. Behold the sundog. =)

11 November 2008

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Get Fuzzy has decided to tackle this invariable question, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" Finally, I think the world can set their mind at rest knowing the conclusion.

S = Satchel, the dog
B = Bucky, the kat


S: Hey, Buck! Why did the chicken cross the road?

B: That's an interesting question. I've done some thinking on the subject and I've come up with a theory.
You see, a chicken's perception of the definition of "space' is very different from yours or mine.
Whereas we understand the linear definition of the boundaries of the pavement and can make judgments on the future direction of the moving objects... vehicles, if you will ...
The chicken may only see an unconnected patchwork of shapes and movements.
It is my contention therefore, that the chicken doesn't even know he's crossing what we would call a "road."

S: My juice cap says "To get to the other side".

B: Well, sure, sometimes the other side is just cooler.


The above script is copyrighted 2005 to Darby Conley.


P.S. Did you see the video below? That speech makes me aspire to be a better person.

05 November 2008

Can I get an amen?

AMEN!

The president-elect of the US is Barack H. Obama!
He will be our 44th and first minority president!



04 November 2008

"You've gotta fight, for your right..."

to VOOOOOOOOOOTTE!

(That's close to what the Beastie Boys were singing about, isn't it?)

It's election day in the US. If you're 18 & registered, go vote... even if you don't think your vote will matter.

22 October 2008

Picture It



This is Nunap. back in August. If I were to take a photo now, you'd see snow & ice & houses camouflaged by both.

This year I tried my hand at coaching cross country (X-C) running again. It went better than last year with about the same # of kids committed. Practices start off with 15+ kids & then dwindle down to 3-ish. This is fine. I'll hold a practice for 1 committed athlete & our SA allowed us to travel more w/ low #s. X-C has a short season, at around a month, but we made the most of it. Photos: #1-Christopher, Stephanie, & Byron in Tooksok Bay (OOK). #2- The boys sneaking up on some of the 100+ birds we saw on our morning hike. #3- This is my little friend, Eric, who followed me when I was out on the Akula course to cheer them onward. #4- Bethel, our "hub," usually puts on a big meet with 15-20 schools. They're at a central location so it costs less to fly there & the course is difficult being a literal sand pit.



Why is there a tiller at a tundra village? I didn't see any garden near by.

These are some cold air funnel clouds, part of what was three. They came about on 11 Sept. Everyone was yelling, "tornado" & excitedly watching outside. This isn't a regular occurrence. Shaun, who is a storm chaser, was quite excited for this too. Thanks for the photo Shibby. :-)


I have acquired two cats w/in the last month. One of Zane's owners was allergic to him. Jade's owner's were going to put her on the tundra to die, even though they willingly bought her. Both are Vern cats with white coats, patches on their head & tails & a spot on their left side. They came from two different places. Maria theorizes that they came from the same litter, which is possible if they both came from Bethel. Zane has the black top & Jade has the tabby markings. The only photo I have of both of them is this one where they are feuding. Yes, Jade has decided to make the litter box her fortress.

15 October 2008

Bits of Bliss

Just before I was about to start adding layers to my attire yesterday, one of Maria's speech friends came in to hand me a box I've long awaited. It was the order with 4 graphic novels & "Brain Compatible Activities" by Eric Jensen. I made a hard, but easy decision. How do you like that oxymoron? I decided that I would forgo b-ball for a night of reading. It was wonderful.

I went home at 6:00; this is my recent goal time to leave school. I poured myself some tea left over from the day, still steaming, and settled into the recliner by the window to embark upon Marjane Strappi's "Embroideries." Right after that, I began "Blankets" by Craig Thompson.

When I stood up from my readerly world I noticed how beautiful it was outside. The river is now a path of ice with flat swirls & jagged upward ice skewers. The ground has a nice layer of clean white snow and the golden grass was blowing in the Westwardly wind. The sky was illuminated in the pink glow of the sunset beneath a layer of puffy gray clouds with the slightest bit of light atop those gray clouds. I could see the lights flicker at the neighboring villages 2.5-3 miles away and sent out an imaginary "hello" to my friends. :-)

Around 8:00 I decided that I should do some domestic duties & make dinner. After settling into my delightful place again, I just kept reading "Blankets" until the end. By midnight, I was nestled in for the deep sleep ahead.

Photo #1: This was from a pretty sunrise a while back (Aug. maybe), taken on my walk to school. Photo #2: Nelson Island tends to collect 'stone people' atop their lovely hills; These are in Tooksok Bay (Aug. too).

07 October 2008

Day 1 as SA (site administrator aka principal)

As some of you know today was my first of four days as acting SA. All & all it went well. I knew I'd be all over the school. But I literally went into every single classroom, some more than once, except for the kindergarten class (which is in another building). I'm just going to make a running list of the tasks accomplished today, in no particular order. Some of these tasks were divided throughout the day.

* Backtrack to yesterday... We had a scheduling, warm body, mini-crisis. 7 staff members were out today & we were scrambling to find enough folks to fill the bill; 5 subs were found. The librarian being out just meant that teachers or aides would take over the role, easy.

* The last unfilled spot was for an aide. I managed to make it to 2 of the teachers/3 different times in her schedule, 1 additional teacher denied help. The other 2 teachers said they wouldn't need her.

* I cut apples & served for K-8 classes during their PE periods & some at the end of the day. Our cook said he was too "busy." This is one of those tasks spread out throughout the day. As part of a grant our school receives fresh fruit & vegetables pro bono. mmmmm...

* I stood in for a teacher while they went to get coffee.

* I was going to fill in for a 2nd aide that was out & we didn't have a sub show yet, but she came in just as we were dividing groups. Her boat motor had a hard time starting, hence the late arrival.

* Almost every hour, with the exception of an after lunch siesta break, I needed to tend to some sort of incident, mainly of disruption to the classroom environment. There were 7 incidents, involving students 3rd through 6th "grade".

* Those incidents were duly logged either after the occurrence or at the end of the day.

* Some aides looked bored & I just so happened to have some file folder games that need to be put together. They gleefully cut things out until it was time to go to another class.

* I e-mailed one of the polycom class teachers for a sub who needed plans. After he replied, I played delivery girl & brought the lesson plans to her.

* Lots of hall walking accrued.

* While Elaine & Matthew were gone to lunch, I answered the phone & distributed lunch tickets.

* I e-mailed & called our dean to try to get a list & an answer about wrestling eligibility. We're hosting a tournament this weekend. I set up our boat drivers for airport transport (this involves a river crossing & it's just not nice to make them swim).

* At one point, I had to tell some subs to suck it up & just deal. I was much nicer than this in person. But really, do I need to tell adults to first tell the kids running around to "stop" or that yes, they have to finish the day even if they're tired. I did let another sub go early, after clearing that with the person she was supposed to be with in the afternoon.

* Some of the wonderfully social 6th grade students needed some watchful eyes as they were having a hard time making it to the restroom without pawing someone of the opposite sex. I also realize that it's hard to resist running or wrestling the 10 feet that it takes to walk to the restroom, alas resist they must.

* For 30 min. I covered Sara's ELD class (2/3 of my class :-) while she took her wee babe to the clinic.

* One class in particular needed to be checked on several times. Let's just say that the subs forte is not discipline. I helped the same class with the VCR in the library. It's the small things we do that make a difference, really. Everyone was quite happy.

* I made & passed out eligibility forms to 2 students who are leaving on a trip Tomorrow. Why wasn't this done earlier? All the while, the teacher taking them had no clue who the forms are supposed to go to. Re. the same trip: signed master eligibility form, e-mailed asking where these forms go, stared at teacher sarcastically bewildered as to why she sent me a condescending e-mail yesterday saying that she knew what she was doing & she'd been talking to 3 ppl for 2 months, so why was I asking her questions, yet she didn't have her $#^t together the day before they leave ... & set up airport ride for tomorrow. This same teacher I saw out of the classroom no less than a 1/2 dozen times. Once, she was looking for flipping markers for a poster. Yes, for this trip she's been dutifully planning for 2 months. Rraarrr!

* Last, & not least, I managed to eventually clean out Garry's desk. He's given me full reign to clear out & organize his office. These are some of the things that were confined in his desk, for who knows how long: a magnifying glass, darts, nails/screws/alan wrenches, a measuring spoon, Nag Champa incense, knives, year old prescription bottles, projector slides, a tiny metal hand, batteries, a car adapter for a walkie talkie (very useful in a boardwalk village), shower rings, plus the usual office stuffs though in no order whatsoever & more than he will ever use. Now the drawers are mostly barren & all sparkle-ly inside.

* I lied. That wasn't last. I let the ladies in for open gym & collected the cash at the end. This was the easiest task, given I was going to be here anyway to kick tail on the court.

* That was another tiny fib. I managed to smile all day, except for when I was talking to those who had issues in class. ~_~

30 September 2008

"Dream a Little Dream of Me"


I spent the night in Akula (a neighboring village, 3 miles away) last Friday at a friend’s house. It was a watch the foreign policy presidential debate(I actually took 4 pgs. of notes & then left them :-(), eat yummy food, play Settlers, talk about animal guides slumber type party. The next day Julie, Deanna, & I went for a tundra mossy, dip & bump kind of hike. We sloshed through some muddy spots, jogged a little, picked/ate berries, saw ravens, felt the crisp air, smiled in the sun, watched Lola have a blast, then went back & ate breakfast before heading over to a gathering at Akiuk for Oktoberfest. I recalled a dream I had the previous night while we were picking berries, which I totally thought was confirmation that I’ve been thinking about relationships & eventually love will find me again. Silly romanticism. The dream was rather short, but intense. You know the kind; those early morning dreams that make you want to stay in bed so that it can keep going. These are a few photos from the tundra trek. Lola is Deanna's dog.


Dream: A friend introduced me to a very attractive man. He was blond with intense blue eyes, an awesome face (I *am* a sucker for a cute face), and smooth creamy skin. He was proportioned & lean, wearing a white shirt & blue trousers. We met in one living room & then moved into another one where we were alone, sitting on the floor & talking. Our legs were intertwined as we sat perpendicular to each other, I kept adjusting & he was stable. There was a table beside me; a couch was behind us. We fell instantly into talking & had comfortable moments of silence. Now that I think of it, his eyes kept looking about, not like he was avoiding me, but as if he was conscious of our surroundings while listening. At the end, we were just laying with our heads on the floor, staring at each other & talking.

According to Alice, overall the dream seemed not to be about a relationship, but about this internal structure & a desire to learn about the world at large that I’ve been grappling. Some of these associations I already identify with & the others I’m semi-pondering. I could over-analyze things until I’m blue in the face. Though, most of the time with this sort of thing, I think “that’s cool” & go about things as I usually would. In short, I think I’m on the right path. Notice how there is sort of a 'self' theme, even though some images seem unrelated. I appreciate Alice’s insight. :-) Alice Anne Parker wrote all of the following associations & questions, found in her book “Understanding Your Dreams”.

Image – Associations – Ask Yourself
Friend – Aspect of self-ready integration. – What part of me is being integrated?

Male – Yang aspect of self. Assertion. – What action am I ready to take?
Adult – Maturity. Wisdom. Full size. – What part of me has grown up?

Blond – Glamour. Artifice. Frivolity. – What part of me wants to enjoy life more?
Hair – Protection. Attraction. Sensuality. – What am I covering? What do I display?

Eyes – Vision. Consciousness. Clarity. – What am I aware of? How do I see the world?
Blue – Harmony. Spirituality. Inner Peace. Devotion. – What is the source of my inner peace?

Face – Identity. Ego. Self-image. – How do I appear?
Skin – Surface of the self. Sensitivity. Connection between inner and outer. – What is on the surface?
Buttocks – Humility. Stupidity. Power. – Am I being an ass? What do I need to forgive in myself?

White – Purity. Clarity. Coldness. – What do I seek to purify?
Shirt – Upper, as opposed to lower, self. Emotions. – What feelings do I consider appropriate?
Trousers (blue) – Lower self. Passions. – What signals am I sending?

Living room – Central space of the house of self. – What is central to my being?
Floor – Foundation. Basic elements. – Where in my life do I want to create stability?
Table – Place of activity. – What am I ready to examine or to do?
Wood – Growth. – What is my natural form?
Furniture – Identity. Attitudes. Beliefs. – How do I furnish the house of my self?

Legs – Support. Movement. – What supports me? Am I getting somewhere?
Knees – Flexibility. Humility. – Where in my life do I need to bend?
Mouth – Nourishment. New attitudes. – What am I ready to take in? What am I ready to express?
Lips – Invitation. Communication. – What am I offering or what is offered to me?
Talking – Communication. – What am I ready to express? To whom or what do I want to communicate?

28 September 2008

Followers

I just discovered a nice feature on Blogger. Go to Dashboard & then under Reading List is Blogs I'm Following. Once you add the blogs, you can see the most recent entries & everyone is just there in a nice little collective. It's kinda nice. :-)

Everyone should follow; maybe you will be followed by a follower you follow.

23 September 2008

"Maxed Out"... Off the Wall... Down the Drain... Make the Call

I'm not just referring to a recent flick I watched, "Maxed Out" (put out in 2006), which tells a lot of stuff we already know but also serves as a reflection of things we might have forgotten about. I must say that I wasn't aware about the magnitude of some folks debts & emotional strain, some to the point of suicide. I know poverty is brutal, but geez. In short, from Regan to G.W.Bush (1983-2005) Social Security has been pillaged of $1450 billion to cover debts. Credit card debt among the American population is horrendous. The flick mentions the Bankruptcy legislative debate & when bill was reformed, MBNA (GW's #1 campaign supporter) helped to rewrite that reform. Accrued debt has robbed public service facilities such as schools, parks, & volunteer departments (rec. meds) of federal & state funds. It mentions that at the consumer credit hearing (2005) the credit card companies only introduced themselves & gave a 4 min. intro. They never had to answer any questions regarding their exploitation on the impoverished population. What to do? They suggest writing to legislation (state & federal) & lenders. Oppose predatory & discriminatory (targeting the poor, college students, etc.) creditors. www.affil.org is the website they recommend. I'm thinking of opting out of Social Security. I thought of doing this in college, but never went through the process of finding out how. Honestly, I'm feeling like I won't see any of it anyway & if I continue to pay it, that means that I'm inadvertently supporting that the administration can use my $ at will for sh*t. I'll post the where-with-all once I find out, for those of you interested also.

Good News is that our President is a genius. He shares such insights with us such as, "It turns out *clasped fingers* that these financial things are inner-related." *insert smarmy looks as if he invented penicillin & we should bow down.* I began this blog post to talk about this current upheaval with Wall Street's & the "leadership" of this country as of late. This is f%#%$#g serious when our Treasury Sec. (Henry Paulson) announces that they want $700 billion to rectify the mortgage crisis. (Why am I not buying a house right now, at the expense of the American taxpayers? When I did almost buy a house this summer, the lender approval still has loopholes & doesn't seem to be changing much from the practices that got us into this in the first place.) The catch to this $700 billion? Don't ask, won't tell. They specifically ask for NO inquiry, no interference, sheer trust that this experimental money pit will work. Because if we can't trust the government, we can't trust anyone (Brainwashing flyer #1). Blarg! Why do we need to come up with this $700 billion anyway; aren't we already into the virtual $ system? Why not just write in the $ & "pay" the bills? {I realize I'm going all over the place here. But, this is my blog, my rant page, & you've chosen to view it. Thanks for hanging with the rip curls.} [For a glance at his speech: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/24/business/24txtpaulson.html?_r=1&sq=paulson&st=cse&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&scp=2&adxnnlx=1222239767-eNLAot3eFNXHSvHYQFemGA]

These are the questions I pose. What can we do as individuals to counter something like this happening? Yes, don't get 12 credit cards & buy groceries & a house with them. I don't even know what to do when I do check the stocks that I have, everything is probably so low to sell right now. I'm trying to use the stock market to my advantage, yet I'm grappling that it's more often using me. How can we seriously uprise against this constant flow of us being informed that day in & day out if the administration decides that we need to burn some $ we should ask no questions? Isn't this communistic? Is this the way we really want to go? No!? Then, what do we do besides vote in the efforts to predict where this country might go? Realistically, the outcome has the potential to determine where the world might go. What else can be done? I'm not posing these questions to put anyone on the spot or to debate about it. Well, I kind of like to debate. Nay, I want to be proactive.


This is the dilemma I'm often finding myself in recently. There is this gargantuan amount of topics that I want to learn about, part of which is politics in both the US & our world at large. I want to know about current affairs, which undoubtedly reflect the underlying history, another thing that my background knowledge is limited with. I'm trying to start where I am & just try to retain the information as it comes along to me or as I'm interested. This is a daunting, exciting & frustrating task, but I'm up for the challenge & I'm hoping to only bite as much as I can chew to be able to retain the info. I'm interested in a lot as of late! Any of you who have knowledge or experiences to share, I wholeheartedly welcome it. Let me give you my existing list (political only, never mind the classic & contemporary literature, health science, pedagogy methods, natural medicine, music, meaning of existence inquisitions :-)... US government & it's inner workings, track records of our presidential candidates, Middle Eastern history (specifically, Iraq, Iran & Palestine/Israel), British influence upon the world... I'll stop there. I'm also facing this mound of questions about how to be proactive, what can we do as individuals & the public at large, right now? I've had the good fortune of being blessed with brilliant friends & family, some that know quite a lot about these things. I've been talking to them a bit & getting resources. Wish for me good counsel & a sound memory to absorb this ever important knowledge. :-) Thanks ahead of time to anyone who wishes to endeavor to help me on this quest of mine.

Ok, I'm stepping down from my soapbox.
(Ahhh... how the exercise of good basketball games can get the mind moving. I must depart for my slumber awaits me.)

17 September 2008

Poetize

This evening after basketball, I found myself looking for poetry to read on the Internet. Specifically, I looked up EE Cummings & Edgar Allan Poe for some reason. Somehow, I got sucked into an hour of reading poetry aloud, to myself. I was enjoying the feel & sound of the syllables rolling off of my tongue, the height & fall of my voice into the air for no one's pleasure but my own. This was the last poem I read.

Serenade by Edgar Allan Poe

   "So sweet the hour, so calm the time,
I feel it more than half a crime,
When Nature sleeps and stars are mute,
To mar the silence ev'n with lute.
At rest on ocean's brilliant dyes
An image of Elysium lies:
Seven Pleiades entranced in Heaven,
Form in the deep another seven:
Endymion nodding from above
Sees in the sea a second love.
Within the valleys dim and brown,
And on the spectral mountain's crown,
The wearied light is dying down,
And earth, and stars, and sea, and sky
Are redolent of sleep, as I
Am redolent of thee and thine
Enthralling love, my Adeline.
But list, O list,- so soft and low
Thy lover's voice tonight shall flow,
That, scarce awake, thy soul shall deem
My words the music of a dream.
Thus, while no single sound too rude
Upon thy slumber shall intrude,
Our thoughts, our souls- O God above!
In every deed shall mingle, love."

08 July 2008

Maroon Bells Snowmass

I've posted the highlight photos with captians on MySpace. If anyone wants to see them & you don't know how to get me on MySpace, click the link to the left, under 'good vibrations.'

The flight to CO was long (9 hrs in air) but clear & smooth the whole way. Pops only had to dodge a bit of rain showers once we were about to land in Leadville. We landed there a) because my father likes it & b) because the elevation is above 10,000' in town & it's a good place to acclimate if you're going to be hiking & c) it's still the highest airport in N.Am. at 9,927'. We stayed there a couple days before flying to Aspen to catch the bus up to Maroon Lake where we started the hike.

Pops & I planned on hiking 4-5 days across the 4-pass. We ended up spending 6 nights, 7 days. It was snow packed, especially on the N-face peaks, which is what we crossed for the 1st 2 passes, Maroon Peak & Frigid Air Pass. After sliding down 100' by steping in some soft snow, Pops sprained his ankle on the rock that stopped him. After going over the 2nd pass & realizing that the next 2 would have just as much snow, we decided to re-route. Due to high, High waters (we're talking raging whitewater in many places, some we crossed, some we didn't dare) we had to re-route a couple times. Our 2nd re-route was to cross under Genevea falls, about a 5' across gorge that angles down forever, one of the white-water havens. The current was way too swift & our doom too much to recover, so we sat around enjoying the scene, watching a mule deer that felt comfortable enough with us to lay down, moved a log to attempt another bridge. It wasn't going to work, so we headed back to where we came from. The plan-to go up the Cliff Trail above Genevea lake, cross there (less swift, hopefully & probably not less cold) & hope that there weren't too many patches of icy slope like we encountered prior. Most of the hike was on the S-side so we were good. Any snow that we encountered, we could handle & for the most part the trail was easy enough to find, as opposed to our 3'-10' patches of hope after hours of being off trail prior. After the Cliff Trail we took a Jeep road from hell, continuous up-climb for miles! On the 7th day, we ended up coming out in Marble & hitched a ride to Carbondale to be able to catch the bus back to Aspen, where the plane was parked. The folks that gave us a ride (Micheal & Lisa) own a store in Redstone & just moved here a year ago from Tuson, AZ. They gave us the "tour" about Marble & Redstone, both of which are tiny towns but interesting nontheless.

Upon our return to Aspen we stopped by the White River Forestry station to tell them about our time up there. Shoot! I still need to send photos to them too. Carla, a really super fly rescue lady there gave us high fives for breaking the trail to & over the 2nd pass (she also said we were lucky). She also wanted to know every detail about the trail conditions as this was a record snowfall year & folks are calling them all day about trail conditions.



Other news:
I just returned last night from CO & house shopping in Nederland. I put a bid in on a house, but with this new counter-offer I think I should just walk away from the beauty that it is (I don't want to scrape to be able to visit NC). I also looked at near a dozen of other homes & I have a feel for the neighborhoods, so looking over the Internet will be easier. I'm under contract with the Realter until Sept. so she'll be at my beck-&-call until then too, at least. Wish me luck!

CO Slideshow

Let's see if this works. :-)

Hover the curser to see captions...
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07 June 2008

Sydney Social

This is a few day's old post that I managed to add onto MySpace when Blogger wouldn't let me sign on. The Internet here is kind of slow so it's taking forever to add something like this or send e-mails. I'm just going to have to forget about uploading photos for now.


I figure that I should update all of you who know I'm in Australia about what I'm actually doing whilst here. Randomly...

So far we've done a lot of city dwelling, looking at parks, gardens, the Parliament House, harbour, the zoo, eating out & shopping. Last night we saw Edward Scissorhands at the Opera House. The music was superb & the dancing was quite syncronized. There are also a ton of beaches right near the city. We went to Bondai to walk around, oggle surfers, hunt for shells, etc. The water temp. was actually not that bad. Long term, it would be cold though. Manly beach is supposed to be more where the locals go; we're going to get there one of these days.

There's a holiday on Monday so we're going to go to Queensland, NE of here to or towards Brisbane (to avoid some holiday traffic). I'm guessing we'll be driving through some semi-rural areas anyway. One of Marina's friend's has someting to do with a football (Euro) around here so maybe we'll go to the Olympic stadium to see a game this week. On a musical note, I've heard that Midnight Oil is Australia's 'political' band (I'm writing it here so that I won't forget :-).
It's been raining practically every day so far, sometimes pooring steadily. I think we're going to have a slow day today, b/c we've been going nonstop. We might just go to a couple of museums.
Ok, before I go I have a story for you. So, the US President came to APEX for a big G8 Summit meeting with several world leaders. This might have been within the last couple of years. It was a big to do & many of the streets were closed off, making it a Big incomvenience to a lot of people. The city traffic here is crazy & the streets aren't gridded, it's like a handfull of cooked spaghetti. So there's a TV show called "Joke Chasers" & they decided they would see just how far they could go. (This might be on uTube out there somewhere.) They rented a limo, one dressed like Osama Binladen, & there were 2 guys running alongside the limo while they were driving. The "security" guys had badges, saying "Joke Chasers." They drove right into the middle of all the high security near the Intercontinental Hotel where the presidents were staying. Security stopped them of course, through several levels, so they showed them their badges. Of course, they were waved through. Finally after "Osama" actually got out of the car & started walking around did someone suspect that something was arye.

G'day :-)

19 May 2008

1 score & 1 decade & 1 year ago...

Stars burst, galaxies shifted, moons moved into the new, mountains moved, rivers swerved, people bustled, birds migrated, glaciers calved, whales jumped, the wind wailed, clouds metamorphosed, but still this was no ordinary day. I was born.


The Law of Time mantra for the day is:
"I Endure in order to Play
Transcending Illusion
I seal the Process of Magic
With the Cosmic tone of Presence
I am guided by the power of Vision"

Keith Oberman Rocks

Sorry, right handed family. I know we still love each other, even if we don't agree politically.

http://movies.crooksandliars.com/Countdown-SC-BushGolf.mov

If this link doesn't work, you can go to www.crooksandliars.com. Kieth made this "special comment" on Wed. 14 May. He sums up the presidency for the past 8 years quite nicely, directing his statements to Mr. Bush himself. Hold onto your seats ladies & gentlemen. :-D

14 May 2008

Boondocks


hehehe ... You've gotta love Boondocks!
(I hope this isn't too fuzzy.)

FLICKers of fire & Elephants in the Room


Part I: "3 Needles" (2005)
I just
watched this flick last night. It left me contemplating afterward. It's about our current worldwide plague HIV/AIDS. The film shares 3 stories, each from the highly populated continents of Asia, Africa, and North America. Some areas in Asia, besides China, greatly affected are India & Thailand. We think of sex & IV drugs as being major causes, & they are. Tourism is also mentioned as contributing to the spread in China. With any plague of this magnitude there is controversy, stigma, deception, ignorance, greed. Poverty can lead people to pretty dire situations too. The special features have clips from "China AIDS Initiative" and "House of Fire" (in America) - worth seeing.

The rural Southern "Hunan" (sp?) Provence of China is highlighted with a story of un-mandated, poorly regulated blood plasma collection in farming villages where people were given the equivalent of $5 a donation, 5 times what the daily working profit might be from selling goods. This blood was pooled, then plasma separated, & red blood recycled back into countless individuals. What a nightmare! The North American porn industry is highlighted with one of the risks being that who people work with may not be honest in their mandated HIV testing. As well, we have to remember that for some unbeknownst reason some people actually seek out becoming infected. We all hear about how horrible the AIDS epidemic is in Africa. A couple of examples are addressed. One is tribal rituals, which may call for the sharing of a knife to cut several in a rite of passage type of ceremony. It's terrible to think of the conflict of keeping tradition alive & HIV being a possible/probable consequence. Poverty also speaks when a community desperate to make a buck finds old needles from missionaries & resells them without sterilizing. Also, the role of sex & rape in power struggles is prominent across the globe, unfortunately. If you're concerned about these kinds of social issues, well now you know another film to get.



Part II: "The Girl in the Cafe" (2005)

I just read my friend Deanna's post "Poverty is not natural..." Please go see it. You can click on it from the 'Musings from afar blog,' go to home (@ bottom left), journals (left again) & vualla. She eloquently describes the flick "The Girl in the Cafe." Side note: I recommend also going to the site www.storyofstuff.com with Annie Leonard who did 10 years of research on consumption at large (kudos Kale). Save at least 20 minutes to watch the video.

Something about reading about the G8 Summit again caused some sparks. I was telling her that I admire (& aspire to have) the conviction & bravery of "the girl in the cafe," who's character name escapes me at the moment. The US & our consumer society, that which demands convenience & promotes consumable products so that the next one can be bought is disgusting. This attitude is overflowing with many nations, not just the US & it's campaigning for being the #1 nation b/c of economical monopolization, industrial nations which benefit from this type of economics & want to remain the ring leaders, non-industrial nations which are employed by US b/c they are struggling to feed their children & need some type of income &/or are manipulated by this system. To me, it's such common sense that the resources we're using & wasting take time to regenerate & that piling the land, air, & ocean with trash is not beneficial to the health of the earth or people. duh! *slaps head*

What is it going to take to convince big wig corps to think ecologically & humanely? I know that they could make a high profit w/ eco-friendly products if the population at large would demand it. It seems like we're moving towards this divergence in environmental morality. There are a lot more people who do in fact demand these things & have created a lifestyle honoring efficiency. Others honor frivolity & convenience. Realistically, these corps have the power to say 'this is what we have (eco-friendly product A,B,or C) & there's no alternative b/c the people at large have to work to sustain this planet & civilization & we're in a position to enforce it.' Reality- we're not there yet cohesively.

This brings me to our current dilemma, obligation. If you're reading this you're probably past the first barrier-awareness. Where do we go from here? What can we do as individuals? As a broad population which has a bigger voice? We can change our personal lifestyles--don't buy consumable items, recycle, campaign, boycott, sign petitions, support organizations that fight for such issues, etc. We're still faced with the now & where is this going. What to do about these select corporations that have way too much power. I want to know what you all have to say about it. Every single one, even anonymously. :-) Please bounce your radical ideas this way! I need some help myself moving beyond this point.

07 May 2008

Oh so nice

Yesterday was an amazing day. I wish I could have a day like that every day. We kicked tail in class with load of hands on activities to go with a poem & for our week long Cinco de Mayo celebrations. I'm adding some new ideas for other class time activities & they're working. I bought a couple books at that Differentiated Instruction seminar. I seriously want to move into having such great energy alllll the time! It helps that I've had 10-13 kids a day too. The birds are back & kids are wanting to feel the sun's vibrations, so they're missing school for hunting & biking around.

After school I was quite productive too. We (Duane & I, then Maria, Kenny, & I) propped sleds against the wall for summer, moved the wood logs where the swampynes will be minimal, put away snow machines, let Loki outside for a while (neighbor's dog I'm watching for a few weeks) & I did the homework I wanted to. I wish I had a lot of projects to do outside like that all the time! The sunshine feels so good & it's nice to chat with the kids outside of school. I had forgotten about this for a while. It's so energizing to have such long days, sun setting at close 11:30pm (rises close to 4:30am), but it makes you restless if you don't have things to do.

P.S. I cannot stop thinking about when I go to the lower 48 & I can go into a comic book store. I'm so in love with graphic novels now! I love the dialogue, the artwork usually rocks, & it's a fast read. I foresee one problem, lots of books, which are heavy to move.

lil' Przybylski



This is what Shaun wrote on his blog. ......

"Welcome to the world, Isaac Vincent "Alek'aq" Przybylski!!!

Vital stats:
Born at 3:57pm, May 6th

Weight: 8 pounds, 2 ounces

Length: 20 inches

Cuteness: Off the charts :-D

Mom and baby are both doing great...at the moment, we're all here enjoying all the "firsts", which really, at this point, is just about everything."

29 April 2008

Abundance



There were a whole lot of positive vibrations swimming around and through me in Anchorage this weekend. I feel so revitalized! (Despite my having a head cold for the 1st time this school year. I was so close to making it the whole school year too!)

To start, Shaun & I made it to Bethel smoothly. My flight to Anchorage went as scheduled too (lucky me, b/c poor Shaun was in BET for 14 hours, but he made it!!). I flew with Era, which is grossly less expensive than AK Air & apparently flying more often too. Our plane only took 18 passengers. There was a row of seats, an isle, and another row of seats. This was a first time for me flying in that kind of jet. I've gotten to ride in 6 (maybe) different kinds of planes since I've lived here. Once in Anc. I had to get my license so I could rent a car, all of which took under an hour. Check out my driver's license photo. Do you see the lighting around my head, following my hair in parts. It was cloudy & dim outside. Yes, I recognize that the flash could have generated some sort of reflection. But, I'm sticking to the fact that it's super rad!

Friday afternoon, I was able to walk into a massage place 30 min. before they had the only opening for the night and Sat. was booked. While I was there I noticed that they do Thai massages too. Come to find out, the person who does the massages is Thai. So, I asked about it at the desk and they said they're usually closed on Sun. but there would be one person there, Somsong. Of course, I went to see her & she is a great healer. I think it helped that I put myself into a mild state of meditation during the treatment too. For those of you nonbelievers who think massage is just a luxary; let me tell you again, it really is therapy! My body is much more balanced than before it. I was also able to eat at my favorite place for garb in Anc., Organic Oasis. And I finally bought Maus, a comic book long ago recommended. Maybe next time I'll listen quicker, Christina. ;-) Maus, originally pub. in 1973, is about the German invasion into Poland; you should definitely check it if you haven't already read it. I need to get the next one stat! I'm glad to hear that they are including it in Battle of the Books next year. This has also made me a fan of graphic novels in general. Oh yes, I almost forgot that Anc. had record snowfall at 22" on Friday alone. This is illustrated by the rental car I just drove into Sally's driveway. I kid you not, I took the pic. no more than 15 min. after I parked.

Ok, back up to Sat. I had a nice talk with someone about before life/after life stuff. Out of the blue she asked me if I believe in psychic stuff. Once we got talking, she told me some way cool stuff about her son & his grandma who passed two days before he was born. Also, she remembers explicit details of things that happened prior to her birth, according to her dad. I'm currently reading "The Children That Time Forgot" (Harrison), which is about just that. Mostly preschool children recall experiences & have a language database way more sophisticated than their current circumstance. Most of the stories are dictated by their parents. This is a good one to check out if you like.

I was fortunate again in being able to walk in & get my hair cut on the spot, when usually they only take apts. I didn't really like it at first, but now I kind of do. Whew! Afterwards, at a coffee shop I had a lovely skimming the surface kind of conversation about gov't conspiracies, social justice, Warcraft, music, & nature. I appreciate getting insights from folks who are clearly passionate in their interests. He's worked on the "inside" & has had tons of experiences. Believe me I tried to get more details about the "inside" but he was tight lipped about certain specifics. I understand. This dude lived in his tent for 3 years, further North than Anchorage. The only gear he brought was the tent, good winter clothing, and his dog. He didn't bring a knife, rope, food supplies, etc. Amazing! (I won't mention your name here b/c I know how paranoid you are. :-) But, I'm bragging on you b/c you rock! We need to chat on Skype or something.

Onward Sat...I was able to see the slightest bit of the state NYO competitions going on at Sullivan Arena. I guess they were moving ahead of schedule, b/c by the time I got there they were at the end of the boys one-foot, which was the second to last event. I watched the beginning of the girl's seal hop, with one of our LKSD AllStars, Charlie. She must have gone over 100 feet. Another, Tanya Slim broke the state record for Alaska High Kick (or A.K.). The LKSD team took 1st in the state in overall competition too, out of 40 or so teams! I had to leave early so that I could meet a crew for a movie, yummy food & Kinwood Zen wine at the Bear's Tooth. We had a good, late night hanging out & catching up, as we live in 4 different places now. I love you all dearly!! {kiss, kiss}

Sun. was a nice day of the here & there's. I had that awesome Thai massage & it was fun talking to Somsong afterwards. She was telling me about what it's like being here for three years & some things about Thailand. Her name means something like uniform, all encompassing, collective. I take it as being able to gather healing energy, which is perfect in a massage practice being able to balance summing up healing energy, while not being a vampire & stealing others'. Sara, Shaun & I ran some errands.

After not being able to get together with Amy, yet again (we have to fix this pattern, girlfriend! :-) I decided to go to Girdwood. For those of you who don't know Girdwood... The drive is 36 miles South of Anc. on a road that splits Turnagain Arm with mountains. Incidentally, they are still covered with snow 1/2 way down! At the right time of year you'll see lots of wildlife. The tide must have been coming in during my drive down. I remembered that it was beautiful, but I was re-exposed to some of the lovely features of that short drive. The mountains, trees, runoff waterfalls, ghost wood forests, & curvy roads make me thankful. Girdwood itself is a transient town that is quite small w/ quaint restaurants, bars, & shops w/ that underground vibe. I'm mostly familiar w/ the summer crowds, but there's a ski resort there for good times in winter. I went to visit Christian, who's been out here in the Bethel area for 6 years now. Oddly, this is only the 2nd time we've hung out. He's there now because of an injury that has required two plates and somewhere around 8 screws in the fibia, tibia area. He showed me some gruesome photos of during the surgery. I'm loving gruesome health science stuff more & more. It was a nice chill time talking about a variety of this & that. He just bought a military bus & might road trip this summer. His friend also told me some stories about the Aleskia Ski Resort there, of suicides & murders. I still need to make my way in there! I bet it has gorgeous architecture inside too. I also wonder if there are any ghosts roaming around. I just eat this kind of thing up!

Mon. I went to a seminar on Differentiated Instruction by Jim Grant. There were about 15-20 familiar faces from LKSD there. Jim is such a dynamic person. I can only imagine how great he must be in a classroom full of kids. He was great with us! Unfortunately for my pocket book I walked by the resource table. I bought some really good resources though, that I think are practical for usage & easy to incorporate into lessons. I left on the evening jet & stayed with a friend in Bethel.

Upon my arrival in the classroom today I was greeted with a huge group hug. These kids are So sweet! Adults around who knew I was gone seem to be happy that I'm back too. It makes it nice to be back home again. Sidenote: We've been going outside to pick up trash & get fresh air & movement. There are already some red berries to pick, which are still mostly frozen, but yummy & tart. The kids always know these things.

Well, you've survived one of my loooong entries. Big hugs to you all! { _ }

OH! CONGRATULATIONS TO ELLEN & RORY, WHO ARE NOW ENGAGED!!!Photo taken by the birds.
They're just beaming w/ love!

Teacher of the Year

Step back! Yours truely has been nominated for teacher of the year. My site administrator and some others at the school all wrote very nice recommendation letters for me! As Ralph would say, "I'm special." :-9 Today Charlotte let me read them before faxing the letters off to the district. I still feel like there are way better deserving teachers out there. But, it's still so nice to be nominated.
:-D (Do you see my teeth?!)

23 April 2008

Mysterious Poem

As I came into the classroom today I noticed a green sticky note on a table. Here's what it says:
"Looking out my window, I peer at the soft glowing orb in the sky. It is floating in veils of gray, black, and purple clouds. The moon is constantly playing hide and seek with me. It is quiet at night. The silence lulls me to sleep. Good night."

This is a lovely little write up, don't you think? Who do you think left it?

A) The ghost(s) that I have often heard in the school.
B) One of the three student teachers who are visiting & have been in & out of our classroom this week.
C) Another teacher
D) The janitor
E) Other

16 April 2008

No wonder Einstein was a genius!

"In the early part of the 20th century Einstein said:
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."


"Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a Spirit is manifest in the Laws of the Universe."

10 April 2008

Music over Recess

Today I had a request from the 7 students I had in attendance that we forgo recess and go to my house again to jam. How could I say no? There was singing, piano playing, drum wrapping, xylaphone tapping, bell ringing, wood rippling, and some dancing.

Of course, there were the side conversations about how afraid of my cat (really Maria's) they were. So, when two were in the bathroom (they had to go in pairs b/c they were afraid)
I scratched the door a little bit. Then, again until they weren't afraid anymore b/c they knew it was me & ridiculous. The rest of the class got a kick out of it too. :-9

09 April 2008

You've Gotta love kids!





I only have 8 students today, because many are staying home or visiting with Chris' family. So, after lunch we went to my house for an impromptu music jam session for 45 minutes. They're so so fun! Before we left, I had them taste the organic herbs from my hydroponics garden. They tasted sweet basil, thai basil, sage, whispy lettuce-I don't know the name (it tastes like celery),
lemon balm & mint. These are the days....

08 April 2008

Yesterday

The first kid that talked to me this morning said, "Somebody was ppough, ppough last night. I know." He did this as he grabbed his head & smiled.

Yesterday was just kind of a weird day with a bad ending. I woke up at 4:00am b/c I was due at school to use the Internet for a 5am live chat with my classmates. That never happened. So, I just stayed at school surfing the net & having a nice slow morning. In the classroom, it was stressful, but a really good day b/c overall we accomplished a lot of stuff. Two of my most studious students were even absent. That evening, we interviewed, & I think hired, for the open SA (principal) position.

Following that meeting we were informed that one of our junior high students Chris, maybe 16 years old, committed suicide. He used a gun, to the head, in his dad's shop right outside their house. There are probably 10 people who live there; lots of kids, one which is a student of mine, in foster care. At about 5pm my face felt all flushed, hot & red, & I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I wonder if that's when they found him. The kid who greeted me this morning is his cousin. Obviously, he isn't torn up about it. I'm really concerned about how our student body, mostly those kids close to him in his age & the multiple cousins he has here. My students are usually pretty mater of fact about death. I also play basketball & I'm pretty good friends with two of his sisters. I'm going to go see the family & the body in his house today. Chris always had a great smile!Photo by Christina ('06?)

03 April 2008

The Treeline



So, it might be a while before I get around to writing a little synopsis of my two trips to the treeline this year. It's 54 miles each way, that's about 2.5 hours on the snow machine each way. And... there are trees! ... & knee to waist deep snow!

Shibby did a nice write up & I pirated some photos from his site. Maria also had a nice blog post on MySpace. (Thanks, Shib)



Shibby's Sunday, March 23, 2008 "Following the North Trail to the Yukon"

http://shibbyalaska.blogspot.com/

Currently...

Well, I've signed my contract for next year here in Nunapitchuk. It will be my 6th year here in LKSD, Alaska. If you get a chance to explore on the Internet, our website is www.lksd.org. A class is updating our school webpage. At this point, I figure I can try to commit myself for the 8 years that will help my retirement. Although, if I’m unhappy I refuse to stay, for retirement.

My tutoring kids from other classes after school & the odd volunteer jobs around the school are fizzling out. Also, coaching Jr. high/HS cross-country & NYO (Native Youth Olympics), including traveling to other villages with them is coming to a close within the month. So far, I've visited 13 LKSD villages, some several times. I hope to make it to all of them by the time I leave here. Though, I still see it as “possible” that I could stay here. It just depends on how things roll.

Tonight I'm getting paperwork & organization squared away for our NYO meet here tomorrow. We're expecting around 7 schools to come out to compete. I hope that weather allows them all to make it here! I also just finished sending off the Writing phase descriptions to my commander in chief. I've been working on this writing curriculum review committee & although it was hours of fun, I'm glad it's coming to a close. Some suckers, I mean folks, are going to be working on it in the summer to refine things. But, I won't be staying around lovely Alaska for the summer.

I may be able to stay for an arts workshop in Bethel for 3 days. Then, I'll promptly hope on a # of jets to go to Australia with my roommate & a friend of hers! I might be able to visit my distance ed. college in Portland prior also. We’ll be visiting another college buddy of hers in Sydney. In my spare time, I’m also looking at houses on the market in Colorado. I’ve been thinking about it for over a year now & so I’m trying to learn more about real estate in general. I’m not sure yet if I’ll visit there this summer to actually view some houses as well as some hiking & camping. But, that's a possibility. I’m sure my pops would love to tag along. Other than that I'll be livin' it up with friends in NC & making the annual (19th this year) trip to Pawley's Island beach, SC with Pops' side of the family. My cousin also mentioned that I could fly over to Nashville, TN to visit their place before driving down to the beach with them. Oh yeah, & I'm thinking of hiking Crow's Pass (Girdwood to Eagle River) in the fall.

I Always try to spend more time in NC & inevitably other places to visit keep popping up. There are only a few things that are certain for my summer: Australia, NC (who knows how long) & Pawley's.

"First you turn the music way up loud,
Then you nod your head up and down
And wag your loco tail, back and forth,
To the chimichanga rumba
and the cha-cha-cha." ~ Skippyjon Jones (Schachner) :-9