Friday, December 26, 2008

I finally made it

Woohoo I finally made it to Illinois. I flew to Seattle on Christmas eve then yesterday I flew to Chicago. If it isn't bad enough to fly on Christmas, it's even worse when the flight gets delayed. We were over an hour late but at least we got here. My parents picked me up at the airport then we went to have our family Christmas. This involves my parents, brothers, an aunt and uncle, and their kids. Bill, my little brother, didn't make it their last night. Needless to say he's in the dog house with more than just me. It seemed like we had an endless amount of presents to hand out. Something to the tune of like 3 laundry baskets. Some of those presents were the gifts from me. Everyone got great stuff. I had gotten people wool socks for Christmas, well that was popular enough because my aunt and uncle had also gotten us wool socks. I also got a cow patterned tea pot from them. It's so cool. I got some great stuff from my parents too. I have a new sakantu knife, a 9x13 pan with a lid, a enamel covered cast iron casserole dish, and something else that I can't recall at the moment. I'm a little far from the tree. Woohoo to awesome Christmases. I hope everyone had a wonderful christmas and you have a happy new year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'll be home for Christmas....maybe

I went to the airport this morning hoping to fly home today. After two hours of sitting there listening to them delay the flight twice, they finally canceled it. Bummer. The next available flight isn't until Christmas Eve. Then I have to overnight in Seattle and fly out Christmas morning. So I should get home at 2:30 PM on Christmas day. Total bummer, but at least I should still make it home. I'm not going to hold my breath. I'll believe it when I'm actually standing in Illinois. Oh well till then I guess I just hang out in Alaska. It's only a couple of days, I'll make it. I hope everyone else isn't held up with the weather. Enjoy your holidays and maybe I'll see some of you soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Woohoo!!

I'm done!!! Both concerts are done and they both went really well. Yesterday was the high school/middle school concert. It was great. Tonight was the elementary concert, it was also great. We had a huge turnout. It was awesome. I thinking I'm running out of words to describe how well they went. There were lots of compliments on both concerts. It's nice to be done with them. Now I just have a day and a half of school to get through and then I'll be on my way to Illinois for two weeks. Woohoo.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

One more week till break

The concerts are almost here and I'm still not stressed about it. That is a great feeling. Yesterday some of the young men from church helped set up the risers and sound shell on the stage. I'm glad that's done. The PE classes are going to help set up chairs tomorrow. It's great to have some help. Now I just need to finish writing the programs and decorate the gym. The elementary classes are making decorations and I'm getting them from them tomorrow. Melody is helping me hang them, I may see if a few more people want to help. I'm sure it'll be fun. Now all we need to do is move the piano and percussion equipment up. It's a good feeling to be that close to done.
It's been slightly chilly here the last couple of days. When it's sunny in the winter here it's colder than when it rains. We've had a few nice days of sunshine so naturally it's been cold. I don't mind it, it reminds me of home. Nothing like 28 degrees. Of course with it being cold, my landlord has wanted to make sure that I keep water running so that the pipes don't freeze. It's funny to be sitting here listening to water running. It's been cold enough that I wore a hat and gloves yesterday. I'm still wandering around in a hoodie. It's not cold enough to wear a coat.
Work has had it's ups and downs lately, there is even a rumor that I'm leaving. I didn't start it. There are times when I really don't like my job. I like the kids and my colleagues, it's my job that I don't always like. I know that may not make sense.
Friday night Kathy and Bristol came over for dinner. It was hilarious. We had such a good time. It's hard to beat good food and good friends. We had sauerkraut, potatoes, and sausage. I think it's a northern midwest thing, because Bristol had never had it. Kathy has, but in a slightly different version. I really like the dish. I also really like sauerkraut. It's one of those things that I can just eat straight from the jar. Anyway, back to Friday night. We sat around and shot the breeze. Bristol went on and on and on about her boyfriend. An update is good but she had him on the brain, so I threw an empty pop bottle at her. In my defense she said I could throw something at her. After I threw it she decided I had too good of aim and that I couldn't throw anything else at her. We had a good time just sitting around chatting. I made dessert, Navajo Peach crumble, I also added some blueberries to it. It was really good. We also each had a very large mug of hot chocolate. It was great to hang out. I think we're going to try to do this more often. I think at some point board games will also be involved. I volunteered my house because I have more room.
That night I also brought out a few of my projects for them to see. Namely my knitting, my quilt, and some of the projects I've done. They think I can do everything. This isn't the first time people have thought that and it won't be the last. It amuzes me. Bristol even now wants to make a quilt. I admit I need to work more on mine but I've been just a little busy. It gives me something to do when things settle down a little bit, which will be after the concert.
In one week exactly, I will be boarding a plane bound for Chicago. I will be spending two weeks in the interesting state of Illinois with a couple roadtrips planned. I know I want to go to Milwaukee and I'm going down to Carbondale. It'll be a fun adventure. I look forward to getting in my car and driving. Woohoo. I also look forward to seeing my family. They're so weird. That's why I like them. It'll be fun to see my friends too.
Well the saga continues. We'll see where it takes me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One week till the concert

It's one week till the concert and are we ready for it? NO. Am I worried about it? No. It'll all work out. We just keep working on it. It's been an interesting week so far in that regard. It seems like the retention is non-existent with some of the students. We just keep plugging away at it. I'm sure that things will work out fine. Kids are amazing that way.
In other news, I got an interesting phone call last night. Bristol called me and said that Melody had come over to talk to me. It was funny that Melody went to Bristol's place because she didn't know my phone number or where I lived. Melody needed to call me because the community choir is singing Little Drummer Boy and they needed my help. They specifically needed my instrument. (This is exactly what she said to me) Obviously no one remembers that it's called a tuba. So I went up to Duncan Church last night with my tuba and played the bass part. Then I got asked if I could sing the bass part for another song. I know that I speak in my chest voice but why does everyone assume that I sing really low. I can hit most of any bass part so I sang bass for a piece. It's fun being the music teacher....really. I'm still laughing that they called me.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My week back..

I've been home from Juneau for almost a week. It was a great time, but in ways it's nice to be home. I enjoyed being away and seeing fun people. I can hardly believe that in two weeks I'll be going away again but this time it will be east. I'll be home for Christmas (...you can count on me...). Are you singing that song yet? Haha.
It has been a good week at school even though I think the band sounded worse this week than before I went away. They are steadily getting better. The concert is in a little over a week. The elementary concert is too. It'll be good. The kids are sounding great. I'm not worried.
My seventh grade classes are doing well and have been fairly well behaved. I'm glad that they are doing so well. Now if only eighth grade had been a little less hyper this week, it would've been perfect. I'm used it. Everyone is making good progress for the concert. I'm pretty sure that both concerts will be great.
In other news, there is talk about moving my classroom with the remodel that will be taking place this summer. The district would like to put me within a school building. Right now it looks like they'd be moving me into the middle school. They'd need to sound proof my classroom. Obviously. I don't have a quiet classroom. I prefer not having a quiet classroom, honestly I'd being doing something wrong if it were quiet. It would be nice to be out of my current classroom though. Now if only I could convince the district that we need a second teacher. Oh well.
Other than that I can't think of too much other news.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Day

When did thanksgiving turn into just a day to have turkey and pig out? What happened to the holiday itself? I pondered this yesterday after making a 20lb turkey, a huge patch of mashed potatoes, and a large pan of stuffing. The food was good, the company was good, and I even laughed so hard I sprayed water. I don't recommend laughing and drinking at the same time, some one will get wet. Well that was amusing. All in all it was a good time.
It's been a good week and it hasn't gone by too quickly. I'm enjoying my time here. Wednesday was pretty low key. I went and conducted a bit over at JDHS. Then in the afternoon I went back to Thunder Mountain to bug Brian. I played a little bit of euphonium and tuba during band. I even helped with a little bit of teaching. Not trying to toot my own horn (that's a bad pun) I'm surprisingly good at off beats. This may not be surprising to many people because I majored in music, but being a tuba player I don't play a lot of off beats, so I have had to practice them to be good at them. Anyways. After the students left Brian let me play the new bassoon (that came in during class) and a very nice new trombone, that makes 4 brand new instruments in one day. He asked my opinion about some of his instruments. He has some really nice instruments. I even had to explain the difference of compensating and non-compensating instruments. If you don't know what that is, it mostly lies in the world of tubas and euphoniums. If you really want to know, I'll explain it to you sometime. Yes I know I'm a band geek. After going through that we sat around and shot the breeze. It was fun. It's fun giving him grief. He needs it.
I had a pretty quiet evening after that. I went out to the mall and bought a pair of xtratuffs, yaktraks, and some smartwool socks. I still need a new pair of shoes, but I should be able to find them today.
In other big news, I officially finished my little brother's afghan. It's huge, maybe massive would be a better word. I rather like it. My plan is to mail it to my parents' house so that it's one less thing I have to lug around with me. Now I'll have to come up with something new to do in the evenings. Maybe I'll finish the afghan I started for me, it won't be as big as the one for Bill. Who knows.
I think it's best though if I eat some breakfast and maybe make some brownies.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snow, driving, and playing tuba

I'm currently in Juneau (in case you've missed that bit of information). I arrived late Sunday because my plane was delayed. When I arrived it was snowing and apparently had been for a while. I like snow. Not too much else exciting happened after arriving in Juneau. However on the flight I sat next to a kinda creepy guy who fell asleep on my shoulder.
Yesterday Laurie and I went and visited Juneau-Douglas high school to see Rich and drop off a tuba. We made lunch plans with Rich for today. We then went to go bug Brian but we couldn't find him so we went grocery shopping instead. It's best to do shopping early when a holiday is coming up. After lunch Laurie and I went to her work where I dropped her off and got to drive her car around. I went to the health food store to find a few things and drove around a little bit. After she got off of work we came back to the house and I made brownies and started on potato soup. The soup was a big hit and so were the brownies.
This morning I played a some tuba for a while and then Laurie and I went to get Rich for lunch. We went to a nice little restaurant. It was pretty good and had a good time hanging out. Then we went to go say hi to Ken, who is the band director at JDHS. I'm going in tomorrow morning and guest conducting a little. After leaving there and before going to Costco, we went and bugged Brian. We found him this time. We sang a long with his choir and after choir he asked if I wanted to play in band. I rarely turn down the opportunity to play tuba so I agreed and played a brand new tuba. We had to take it out of the plastic. It was fun and the kids enjoyed having a tuba, so did Brian. He invited me back for tomorrow, so I'll be there in the afternoon. Then we went to Costco to finish the rest of our shopping. It's been a pretty low key day. After shopping and the other adventures, Laurie and I jammed out (she played the piano and I sang) it was so fun.
We had dinner at a little diner. Pretty good burgers. It's been a pretty quiet evening. It'll be a fun day tomorrow and I need to get planning done on Thanksgiving dinner. I'm incharge of cooking that. It'll be fun.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The beginning of a vacation

I'm sitting in the airport and waiting to board my flight to Juneau. I will be there for a week. I have been in Ketchikan since yesterday morning. It's been nice to be out of town even though I haven't gotten very far yet. I stayed the night at some people from church's home. It was very nice of them. I continued working on the afghan last night. I'm on the last block of color. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Woohoo. I came in yesterday because I sang at church today. It went very well.
School continues to go well. We're getting closer to the concert and the kids are definitely stepping it up. It'll be a good concert. My 7th graders are about half driving me crazy but that's to be expected.
My dad emailed me an awesome brownie recipe this week. I've made it twice and shared with some of the teachers. They were a big hit. I'll have to make them while I'm in Juneau.
I'm looking forward to my trip and cooking for a group of people. It'll be fun and I'll try to keep everyone posted.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yay for Playing Tests

I'm sure that my high school students would not share my sentiment about being happy about playing tests. Oh well. They had their first one today. For the most part, they went rather well. I found decent rubric which made grading easier, sort of. I now just need to update grades in the system because mid-quarter is this week. How exciting, not.
Preparations for the Christmas concert are going well. My kindergarten class is the farthest along. That's very awesome for them. Here's hoping that I can light a fire under the rest of them.
Today we recorded the piano tracks for the song so that they can practice them. It is so nice to have an awesome piano player. She volunteered to play. It's very awesome. I'm so lucky to have an accompanist. I need to think of something nice to get her to say thank you.
Not much else is going on so I think I'll go back to knitting.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's what day?

I haven't figured out where this year has gone, but it's going by very fast. I remember Monday and Friday but the rest of this week is a bit of a blur. I'm not sure exactly where it went. I'm not complaining. I'm kinda hoping this week flies by because I'm going to Juneau next week, for the whole week. Yay vacation, sort of. I'm excited. I'm excited about cooking for people. I like cooking for groups.
Not too much happened this week besides playing for veteran's day. Also on Friday there was a community wide talent show. I got volunteered to play tuba in it. Not really asked, just volunteered. Thursday. Woohoo, one day's notice. I played the chicken dance. It was hilarious.
I'm slowly but surely finishing the afghan I'm knitting for my little brother. I think I have about two feet to go. It's pretty awesome. I hope he appreciates it.
I have about a month till the Christmas concerts. Elementary is on one day and secondary is on another. That'll be a fun time. I'm sure.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day. It was a good day to reflect on the people who fought for this country. Today the high school band was privileged to play for one of the ceremonies. I included the 8th grade band because they are more than capable and they fill out some of the instrumentation. We played the National Anthem and America the Beautiful. This of course brought up a few problems like there was no flute part, so I had to write it, or we don't have America the Beautiful in our music library so I had to arrange it. I found a good choral arrangement and then adapted it to the band. I got that to them yesterday so that we could rehearse it and then play it today.
This morning during band rehearsal, my eighth graders showed up. It was great to hear the whole group together. They are quite a good sounding band. It was awesome to have that many students. It was only 7 more students but it all counts.
We got a lot of compliments and everyone really enjoyed having the band play today. I think they thanked us like 12 times. It definitely meant a lot to the community to have us there.
Of course the program was supposed to start at Noon but we didn't start till about 12:20. We were finally done at about 12:50. This meant that all of my students were late to lunch (by 20 minutes, 30 when you figure we had to get back to the band room and put everything away). So of course they were all late to their next classes and I had 10 minutes to eat lunch. Woohoo.
Otherwise it's been a good day and so far a good week. Hopefully I'm not speaking too soon.
I'm going to go back to my knitting now, I'm about three feet from being done with the afghan for my little brother. The fun never ends.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Where has the week gone?

I have no idea how it's Sunday again. This past week went by very quickly. I don't know how it did but I'm not totally complaining. It wasn't too out of the ordinary either. We buckled down on Christmas music with the elementary students. The concert is in 5 weeks, or there abouts. I think it's really about 5 1/2 weeks. There is still a lot to do. Oh well.
On the upside, my new bass drum came in. It's pretty. I like it. I had to give the percussion instrument talk again to my band. I also had to give the cell phone lecture again. Otherwise the kids are great. Wednesday and Thursday I didn't have afternoon classes because of drug prevention presentations. This meant no 7th or 8th grade. Friday there were a lot of them gone on a sports trip. I had 10 of the 7th graders and only one 8th grader. It wasn't too bad.
In two weeks I'll be on my way to Juneau for a week. I'm excited to see the people I know up there. I also get to cook for more people than just myself. Not that cooking for myself isn't a good thing but I sometimes have leftovers for a while. I love to cook. I made potato soup this week and I ate it for two days for dinner and one day for lunch. I don't have many recipes that don't produce leftovers.
Friday night I went over to another teacher's home. She had 5 fellow teachers over, including myself, and it was fun. She made taco's and we all had a good time. For dessert we had dump cake. It was quite tasty. Now that I'm talking about food, it makes me hungry. I'll fix something after I get done writing here.
I'm still adjusting to the time thing here. I'm just convinced that I have no idea what time it is anywhere else in the world and that it's ok. I'll figure it out when I need to, of course by then the time will have switched back everywhere else and then I'll be back to where I started. Such is life.
Tuesday the band will be playing for Veteran's Day. I have to see if I can find an arrangement of either America the Beautiful or some other patriotic song so that we can play that along with the National Anthem. I should probably take care of that while I'm thinking about it.
I'm off to make dinner and find music.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What's going on?

Daylight's savings time has arrived and unlike the rest of the state we don't observe it. So don't ask me what time it is. My watch says one thing and my cell phone says something else and I can't figure out how to change my cell phone. Of course when I go to Ketchikan it'll be an hour different than it is here. It will be fun to figure out the ferry schedule. Also now church is at 11 AM here instead of 10AM because we have it piped in from Ketchikan. I'm sure I get used to it but it'll take a while.
So I got back into town on Thursday. The ferry was about 15 minutes late getting in. Stephanie, my AD, felt bad that she forgot to pick me up. I just started to walk, I got about half a mile, and someone picked me up. This happens quite often here. I got home, checked my mail, and stopped by the high school. I went back home and took a nap so that I was a little less dead for parent-teacher conferences. Just in case any of you reading this haven't talked to me in the last several days, I lost my voice while I was in Haines (and it has steadily been coming back) but trying to talk to anyone has been a bit of an adventure. I went up to the high school during conferences because people usually don't make the trek down to the music building. I talked to several parents and my A.D. (who felt really bad for forgetting to pick me up from the ferry). Then I talked to the english teacher down at the middle school (Kathy) about my week away. Home was my next stop and I went straight to bed.
Friday was an interesting day, mostly because I came back to a room that had been messed up. Trashed might be too harsh of a word for it, but it certainly felt that way. I was also informed that the sub didn't really follow any of my sub plans. Joy! I also got notes back from one of the subs disagreeing with the sub plans and then stating what they did instead. Come to find out, that my 7th grade class was also shown a rated R movie. This was not what was listed to do on the sub plans. What in the world is going on here. My elementary students were awesome on Friday though, especially with it being Halloween.
Friday night and Saturday late afternoon, I was a referee at the last regular season volleyball games. I happened to be 1st referee, which means I got to stand up on the stand next to the net. Friday went fairly well but Saturday was a different story. It was sort of a nightmare. When did a game become more than just a game? Why was the line judge calling balls out when they were really in? Why were so many people arguing with me? Why did the line judge call a tip, at the net, when she is at the end of the court and I was at the net? (There was no tip). Well add this to the list of things my AD feels sorry about to me (which once again I told her not to worry about). She came over last night after I got home from playing at a funeral to apologize. I told her not to worry about it. She insisted on taking me out for ice cream. We talked, got ice cream, and I told her not to worry about it. It's not the end of the world. She really has so many things put on her (and she's a really great person and deals with it all so well) that I don't worry about it.
Did I also mention that Saturday and today I've slept in till like 8AM (I never sleep in that late)? I also copied some new pep band music yesterday. The week ahead holds lots of Christmas music. It is now time to buckle down and work on the Christmas program. I should also figure out what I'm going to cook today.
I'm off to church and then I need to do some cleaning around my house. Laundry and dishes would be good things to get done.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sleep in a bed

I'm sitting in the airport waiting to board the plane. It's just after 6 AM and the flight leaves at 7AM. I slept in a bed last night, it was the first time I had since I left last Thursday morning. Thursday I spent the night on the ferry, Friday through Wednesday I slept on the floor in a classroom in Haines high school, and last night I was in a very comfortable bed at the Best Western in Juneau. Finally a good night's sleep.
We finally got out of Haines yesterday at about 3:15 PM. (5 hours late). We got into Juneau last night a little after 6 PM. The people who had taken a small boat up to catch the ferry in Skagway beat us back and they left much earlier than we did. There were weather issues in Juneau however that delayed us. It was a long day of travel. It will be nice to be home. I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and actually cooking in my kitchen. Of course I could be stuck in Juneau and I don't know that it would bother me, I know enough people here. I also fit in pretty well with the people I know here.
Laurie, the accompaniest for the Juneau high school choir, picked my student and me up last night so we could go to Walmart. We then went to Bullwinkle's Pizza. Yay Pizza. She suggested coming up for Thanksgiving. I just might. She is also an advicate for me finding a job up in Juneau.
It's almost time to board the plane.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sitting and waiting

Well it's currently 1:30 PM and if the schedule hadn't changed I'd currently be in Juneau. Instead I'm currently sitting at Haines High School. The ferry was supposed to leave at about 9AM, because of weather it was delayed. Then it was delayed again so it was going to be in at 10AM. The next delay took us to the boat arriving at 1PM. Then it was going to be in at 2PM. The first boat broke down so they needed to get that one and then send out another one. About 12:45 they announced that the boat would be here at 3PM. That would put us back in Juneau about 5:30-6PM. I'm hoping that is the last delay. I don't mind the delay, but it's getting old. I'd like to check into my nice hotel in Juneau, go to Walmart, and get some good sleep. We might order some pizza when we get to Juneau. I feel bad for all of the people that will miss their flights and need them rescheduled. Luckily I was already overnighting in Juneau so it doesn't make a big difference for me. Oy. This just makes for a longer day than it already was. There are currently about 100 kids, directors, and chaperones sitting around waiting. I really do hope it's the last delay.

Needless to say this has been an interesting trip.

I'm sitting in a hallway next to Tasha, the director from Wrangell, and we are both typing on our blogs. She's my twin (sort of).

I had an interesting conversation with two of the Juneau directors, one was Brian and the other was Richard. Both very nice people and at times they try to be the mother hen. Someday I'll get to be an adult and not a baby chick. I appreciate their concern though. We went out to breakfast this morning. They kinda want to get me up to work in Juneau with them. We'll see how my job in Metlakatla goes. I'm not giving up on that one. I think I can make it my own, it'll just take some work.

Just an hour until we start getting shuttled over to the dock. Maybe we'll actually get out. By the way did I mention we have a foot of snow on the ground. Yay!!!

Snow

Well the Honors Fest concert was great. I think everyone had a good time. It's snowed all day and it's still snowing. There's got to be about a foot of snow outside. It's fantastic. I love snow. I'm not sure that everyone shares that opinion with me.
We had a directors' meeting after the concert. It was good to talk to the directors. I mostly just sat and listened because yesterday I lost my voice. I'm not sure where it went and maybe someday I'll find it. (Sorry bad joke). There are times you can beat subjects into the ground and tonight we did just that. It happens. I did chat with a couple of directors after the meeting with my frustrations. I talked with them since they were driving my student and me back to the school. They wouldn't let me walk, they're convinced I'm sick. I'm not sick, I'm sleep deprived and have no voice. I've kept fairly quiet not just because of the lack of voice but with being semi sleep deprived, I have the tendency to not be the most pleasant person. I loose all tact and I'm plenty opinionated when I'm not any of the above. It's been an interesting couple days, to say the least. At the very least it was a great experience for my student and she had a good time.
We'll see how much snow we have when it gets time to leave.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last Day of Honors Fest

Well today is the last full day here in Haines. Tonight is the concert for Honors Fest. Yesterday was a day full of rehearsals for the students. The directors had a meeting at one point but that was about it for us. Sunday morning it was snowing (like I had said in the previous post). We got between 6-8", it was great. Then later that evening it began to rain. It rained a little bit yesterday morning so needless to say the rain was fairly gone. It turned out however to be a beautiful day. I even walked back and forth between the school and the concert hall a couple times. The final time I was walking back to the school, I remembered that there are bears here and that maybe I should walk closer to the lights versus closer to the woods. Oops. I forget about bears because there are none in Metlakatla. There are also no bears, that at least I know of, is Illinois so I don't generally think about walking places and running into bears. I didn't run into any bears. Just for the record, we went out looking for bears on Saturday and didn't see any, which means I've only ever seen bears in zoos. However on Saturday we did go out to the eagle preserve. That was cool. I'm pretty sure I mentioned this already but it doesn't hurt telling everyone again.
I spent some time yesterday wandering around with the Wrangell band director. She and I are both first year teachers and are very similar. Our mentor says that we're twins, and it's kinda true. Yesterday I started to loose my voice and I think it's about gone. I have to admit I haven't gotten great sleep since being here. I think that's what I get for sleeping on the floor for several days. Did I mention that we are the only school that is sleeping in the high school? So needless to say I'm the only director not staying at the hotel, but school policy is school policy. I'm not particularly worried about it. Tomorrow night we will be in Juneau at a hotel, so only one more night on the floor. I think I'll survive. It's been a rough couple of days mostly because I'm sore and tired from sleeping on the floor. It's also been long days. On the upside, my student is having a great time and I'm very happy for that. Maybe this will motivate more students to try out for next year. It wouldn't hurt. I think my students would enjoy it.
I must be off to eat breakfast and finish getting ready for the day. It's another day of rehearsals and today will be extra long with the concert and then a dance for the kids later. Nothing like getting finished at 11PM so that you get on a ferry by 8AM the next day. The concert should be really good. I'm looking forward to hearing it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sleeping bags, snow, and seven AM

Good Morning!!! For most people waking up for the second day (or any amount of days) in a row in a sleeping bag on the floor of a high school, in a town you've never been to, would be almost unheard of. Here in southeast Alaska, it seems to be fairly common. I'm currently in Haines, which is probably about 300 miles away from Metlakatla. I'm here with one of my students. She was the only student I had make Honor Band. For the next few days we will be here. We left Metlakatla on Thursday. We spent 25 hours on a ferry before arriving in Haines Friday. So Thursday we slept on the ferry, I slept in a chair that reclined a bit and my student slept on the floor. If you haven't been on a ferry, this is a very common practice. Then Friday night till this coming Tuesday night, we're sleeping at the high school. On sporting trips teams almost always stay at the schools, but for things like this it depends on school policy. Our school policy is to stay at the school, so that's where we are.
When we got in Friday, it was snowing slightly. I love snow. The scenery was picturesque. Tall mountains capped with snow with a small town sitting just in front of them along with tall snow capped mountains across the inlet. Yesterday we woke up to a dusting of snow on the ground, probably about half an inch. It was so beautiful. It made the scenery look exactly like what you see in a book as the scenery in Alaska. I have some great pictures that as soon as I can get them off my camera, I will get them up here.
Yesterday the group from Ketchikan, which has been here as long as we have (they were on the same ferry Thursday), and my student and I went and did some exploring. We drove north towards the Canadian border to go to the eagle preserve. Nature wasn't being very cooperative, the only only way to get a good look at the eagles was from the distance viewer. Very often they are closer to the boardwalk we were on, but not yesterday. The drive out there was gorgeous. The road was next to the river that wound through the beautiful snow-capped mountains. It made it even better having everything dusted with snow from the snow fall the night before. After that we had some down time at the school and then decided to go the opposite way and go the a river that usually has a lot of bears. We drove all the way out to the lake which the river runs from and no bears. We looked around and saw a few eagles, but no bears. Once again nature wasn't being very cooperative. I've never seen a bear outside a zoo and I don't want to get close to one, I'd just like to observe one from a bit of a distance in their natural habitat. Three times I've been out trying to find bears in three different places and haven't seen one.
Today will start rehearsals for Honors Festival. There is a band and a choir. The rest of the groups should get here about 12:30. Wrangell got in yesterday so now we're waiting on Sitka, Petersburg, Juneau, Hoonah, Craig, and Klawok. We'll have about a hunderd students here for Honors Fest. We will all be here until Wednesday morning, weather permitting. They have rehearsals today, tomorrow, and Tuesday, with a concert Tuesday evening. The music should be really good.
After leaving here on Wednesday, most everyone is travelling back to their towns that day. We are overnighting in Juneau and catching a morning flight to Ketchikan, weather permitting. It was either overnight in Juneau or in Ketchikan because the ferry back to Metlakatla doesn't run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. My activities director opted to have us stay in Juneau at the same hotel I was in for the directors meeting last month. Another adventure. It'll be fun.
I better get ready for the day, it's nearly 8AM and the A.D. here is coming at 9 to make breakfast for some of the kids that will be helping move equipment over to where rehearsals and the concert will be held.
The sun is coming up and there is more snow. I can't tell if it is currently snowing but I'll find out soon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pictures of Metlakatla

Purple Mountain
Smugglers Cove
Sunset at the beach in town
A harbor on our way to the Fish Hatchery
More of the island
A bald eagle sitting in a tree

Alaska Pictures of a few of my travels

Mendenhall Glacier
A lake in Klawok
More of Mendenhall Glacier
Another shot of Mendenhall Glacier. I think it's cool
On our way back from Thorne Bay over on Prince of Wales Island.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Morning in Ketchikan

Well I'm staring out my hotel room window watching the rain fall and the wind blow. I came over to Ketchikan yesterday afternoon with a family I know from church. I happen to also teach all of their children that are still school age, which would be the only ones still at home. We stopped at the music store (for me), then went out for pizza. I haven't been to a pizza place in what seems like a long time. The last time was when I was in Craig chaperoning. This was slightly better pizza. It's pretty good cold too.

Well school is going fairly well. I need to spend sometimes today working on sub plans for the time I will be gone. I'm leaving on Thursday with my one student going to honors fest. We won't get back till the following Thursday. The only real disadvantage beside writing a week's worth of sub plans is sleeping on a high school floor for around 5 days. I hear Haines is pretty, that's the town we're going to. I just bought a digital camera so my pictures should be better.

Other than that the saga continues. I don't have too much too report. The principal has been kinda buddy-buddy with me lately and it has sent up all sorts of red flags. Several weeks ago he stated he wouldn't change my friday schedule, that's when I have the entire 7th grade class. All of a sudden on Monday he came in and was talking about if I want to change it to just let him know. Well it turns out the other teacher I split the 7th grade with and he have had a bit of a falling out. So it comes across as his way to get back at him. This is so, please excuse the pun, junior high. The principal asked me again the other day about it and I told him I hadn't made up my mind yet. Which is pretty true.
On top of all of this I've been without a computer for 3 weeks, this week will be week 4. Grades are due on Wednesday, this will be fun. They have ordered me a new computer but no one knows when it will be here. I spent several hours yesterday trying to get papers together so that it's easy to enter everything in. I have a huge stack of papers. It's never a dull moment in my life.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's official, I've had it with the mouse in my house. I have lost an oven mitt, two dish clothes, and several boxes of ziploc bags to the mouse. I opened a drawer yesterday and there was the mouse. Now if it weren't in my house and destroying my things and making a mess, it would almost be cute. It stared at me for a minute then ran away, which really just constituted going into another drawer. I set out more traps so maybe I'll get it.

Yesterday I went over to another teacher's apartment and we had lunch and played monopoly. It was fun. I made pound cake. It was good. I also spent part of the day cleaning since the mouse has gotten into almost everything.

School is still going generally well. I need to finish picking out Christmas music. I love thinking about Christmas in October. Ok not really. I'm in the process of getting everything ready for a concert that is two months away. Plus the principal still wants us to play at the volleyball games. I really do forsee pepband music at the christmas concert. I got called into his office again and was told that they expect a lot since they've "spent so much money on the program." This came after he told me that they are getting me a new computer because my school issued computer died. For the record if you don't count buying a new bass drum and a digital piano, the school hasn't spent that much money. I think they've spent more on the computer and peripherals than they have on the program. Just for the record. I've asked for the bass drum, the piano, some music, drum sticks, drum heads, guitar strings, and a couple method books. Maybe they should look at the amount of money I've personally spent for things on this program. Oh well. I still think things are going well.
Well I guess I should get more done.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Up too early

Good Morning!! It's 3:45 AM here and I've been awake for at least half an hour. I have no idea why I'm awake, but I'm wide awake. That's probably why I'm writing on here. Not that being up this early wouldn't make a difference if I actually worked on work, but then again I'm not that ambitious this early. It's a chilly morning here, it's in the upper 30's. I think it's only going to get up to the upper 40's today. Not too bad for October in Alaska.

Well it continues to be a wild ride in my job. Currently I have 4 classes playing recorders, 3 of those on soprano recorders and the other on alto recorders, along with a class playing guitar and autoharp. I'm in the process of picking out music for the Christmas concert, since I need to start working on that soon. When you only see some of your classes once a week, you have to start early. For the most part, it's been getting steadily better. Usually. The high school band is back to playing pep band music since I was told we would be playing at the home volleyball games. The first set of games is when I'm away at Honors Festival, so I have no idea how that will work. I finally did get to order some music. One small step. I have less days that I dislike my job. These are all good things. Now if only my house didn't look like a bomb went off, my office looks about the same way but there are only so many hours in the day.
Oh the life of a K-12 music teacher.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Happy Birthday to me

Well as it is now 11:30 PM here in Metlakatla, my birthday is almost over. That doesn't mean that the partying is though. It's been a fairly quiet week since I got back from Juneau and I've rather enjoyed it. We did have an inservice on Saturday though, which I wasn't really thrilled about. That's how it goes sometimes. Today has been pretty quiet, mostly because most of the people I know here didn't know it was my birthday. Some of my students found out so I got sung to 4 times during the day. My eighth grade band was actually a little upset that I hadn't told them that today was my birthday before the actual event. They wanted to throw a party. Ok. I did get a two cards, each from teachers I know and a gal I know from church made me dinner. After finally getting away from book club, I made it over to her house. Did I mention that I have all 4 of her younger children in my classes? Anyway, they waited to have dinner till I got there. Siri made roasted potatoes, corn, and caribou. Yes, I had caribou and it was pretty good. It's definitely better tasting than deer. I'd still probably continue to be more of a chicken, beef, or pork person, but it was good. So this takes the count up to 4 new things I've tried, baked salmon, halibut chowder, smoked salmon, and caribou. I'm on a roll. It's fun.
Now I'm off to set out mouse traps, as I have a mouse in my house. Then I really must get to bed, 6 AM comes early.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I love musicians

It's my last night in Juneau and I've been here since Thursday night. I was here for a director's meeting. It was great. Last night I met everyone and we broke up into groups and listened to audition tapes. I went with two other directors to listen to low brass. They were strangely excited to have a tuba player. It was fun. I'm not sure that listening to a whole bunch of audition tapes was really that fun but it's always fun when you get 2 or more musicians together. After we were done with low brass, I went to go help with percussion tapes. That was definitely more painful to listen to than the low brass, but there were some good players. Once again it was amusing to hang out with a group of musicians. Finally at about 11 PM we were basically done and called it a night. I walked back to my hotel, since I'm not staying at the same hotel as everyone else. I think I finally got to bed at about 11:30. This morning we met again to put together music and such. That took longer than it probably should have but musicians run on their own time. We went to a brand new high school here in Juneau and did what we needed to do there. We got everything sorted out and parts copied and were finally done with that. We then went back to the hotel and discussed some of the upcoming events, updated the contact lists, and ate lunch. After the meeting we all took a break before meeting for dinner. Two of the other new teachers, myself, and one of the Juneau band directors went out and toured the area. Brian, one of the Juneau directors, took us in his truck to go see some sights. We went out to Mendenhall Glacier. It was really cool to see. We looked for bears and mountain goats. We saw several mountain goats, but sadly no bear. The glacier is amazing, maybe I think it's so cool because I've never seen one and I'm from Illinois. He then drove us around downtown and most of the areas in Juneau. It was really cool.
At about 6:30 PM we all met to go out for dinner. Can you imagine 13 music directors in one small space. Well if you can't then I'll try to describe it for you. It's pretty unique. Most people know that musicians are unique individuals. (I really hope that's not a surprise for anyone). If you get any amount of them together I can just about guarantee two things, there will be alcohol and it'll be fun, or at least amusing. So we all went out to a restaurant and sat at several table pushed together. There was alcohol had by many, I promise not me. It was John's birthday, he's the director in Sitka, I believe. There was plenty of good food and good, but at times strange, conversation. We also sang happy birthday to John, twice actually. Once on our own and once when the wait staff brought out a piece of cheesecake with a candle in it for him. There were some pretty nice harmonies, even when we weren't really trying. We finally all got back in the vehicles we came in and drove to our respective places. I rode with Brian and Josh, who teaches in Craig. That was such a funny ride. To start off we had parked in an area with a low clearance and Brian drives a truck. Then, because I haven't had a lot of seafood, Brian brought out some smoked Sockeye Salmon for me to try. I have to say it's some good stuff, it's currently sitting next to me as I type. It reminds me of some taste I've had before, but I can't quite place it. Then the three of us got on some strange discussion about canning and pickling corn. Now I've only ever made corn relish, that's as close to pickling corn as I've come. But this seemed to be a constant running gag, mostly by Josh. We did have some good conversation though. We dropped of Josh at the hotel that everyone but me was staying at and Brian was nice enough to give me a ride back to my hotel. He then asked me a question that I figured at somepoint would come up. Why in the world Metlakatla. I gave him my whole job search story explained how I got the job. We talked about some school things and I showed him a couple pictures of what my classroom looked like before my weeks of cleaning and a couple pictures of the island. He gave me some good advice and it'll be fun to get back together with all the directors in about a month for honors fest.
I now sit here and think about the fact that I'm getting up at about 4:45 AM so that I can finish getting everything ready and get to there airport for my 7 AM flight. It's been a nice weekend and I'm looking forward to the next meeting.

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's Monday

All I can really express is that's it's Monday. Today my kids were pretty great so what was going to go wrong in my life. My car has already been hit by a bus, so it can't be that. Wait maybe it's time to be frustrated with my administration. Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.
Today in a meeting with the jr/sr high principal I was told that I'm not going to the director's meeting for honors festival, which means none of the audition tapes get sent in for it. Nothing can be done about my schedule, because somewhere in the world it's fair that I have all the 7th graders on Friday and the other teacher I split that schedule with gets to have an extra prep period. Oh yes and pep band is going to play at all the home sporting events. I forsee pep band music at our christmas concert because that's all I might get taught. It's also resonable for high school band students, who already have lots of homework, to practice an hour every night. Somewhere in there I'm sure there was an everything I do is wrong. I should be calling parents on a weekly basis. I'm sure there's more but just typing it makes me annoyed again. However I can do anything I want with the program, as long as I don't spend any money. (Ok that might be a little bit of an over dramatization but the rest of it is pretty true) I'm very tempted to write a letter to the parents stating that the band won't travel anywhere this year and see how that blows up in my face and then just send the parents to him.
On the upside though, I fried chicken today. It was good. I went the the book club meeting, that was fun. I'm now going to go to bed so I can do it all over again.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mid Quarter

Well it's hard to believe that it's mid quarter already. How time flies when you're having fun. I've realized that I haven't written on here as often as I should, so please excuse me for my busyness. I can't begin to describe how busy I've been. The best I can describe is that if I stop moving I feel like I'm going to fall asleep. So during the day I don't notice how exhausting my job is, but that moment I slow down, I can feel it.
This week I gave my high school band a couple concert band pieces. I pulled out First Suite in Eb by Holst and Sleigh Ride. I need to do some adapting because we don't have all of the instrumentation for Holst. They looked at me like I was a little crazy, because my expectations are high. They can play it though. I have lots of faith. The high school choir is going pretty well. We haven't been working on lots of music that we'll sing at Christmas, but I need to order music. 8th grade band is moving along well, but is a talkative group. 7th grade might drive me crazy but they are progressing fairly well. I need to make a lot of phone calls home because I have a couple kids failing. It's always fun to talk to parents.
General music has been fun. We played boomwhackers in several grade leves. If you don't know what those are, they're plastic tubes of different lengths that when hit produce a sound. It's an easy way to show high and low sounds, build a pentatonic scale, play ostinatos, or improvise melody. We used them in kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade. The kids really enjoy them. We've also gotten out percussion instruments and xylophones. It's been fun, but that's what music should be. We tend to be loud as well.
5th grade general music is playing alto recorders. They are having a ball. They only know 3 notes but I've had kids come to my room after school to see if they can take their recorders home. Luckily I had some music printed up. It's great to see how excited they are about it. It's even better when they get noisy in class and I stand there and tell them I'll wait till their quiet before I continue, and they use positive peer pressure to get the rest of the class to be quiet. It's awesome. They are so excited to be playing recorder. They know three notes.
6th grade is playing guitars and autoharp. They are also enjoying it. They know 3 chords, the simplified versions. It's quite exciting to them.
It's been a good week if you don't count what happened thursday that had nothing to do with school. I got a phone call during lunch from my mother asking where my insurance card was for my car. I called her back to ask what was going on. She said my car had been hit. Lots of thoughts went through my head so I asked her what happened. It turns out that the parking brake on one of the parked busses failed. This bus rolled backwards into a car pushing into my car which slid partially sideways 18 inches. This is really hard on a car's axle and transmission. Especially on a new car. I haven't even had my car for a year. Now I've seen a "runaway" bus. I've even chased one. It was a matter of time before something like this happened, but we all hoped it wouldn't. Well this isn't going to be a cheap venture for the school's insurance because one car is totalled and mine needs some serious work. Maybe I should've brought my car with me. Well hindsight is 20/20. It'll all work out.
Till something else exciting comes around, I should write some lesson plans since those need to be emailed in tomorrow morning.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A weekend away

It's currently 4:30 in the morning here in Craig, Alaska. I'm wide awake and not totally sure why. Maybe it's because I'm usually awake at 5, maybe it's because I was sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor in the high school library, who knows. Yesterday after lunch I, along with the volleyball and cross country teams, boarded the ferry to Ketchikan, then transferred ferries to go to Hollis. Total time on the ferry about 4 1/2 hours. Then we got in either a van or a bus and drove to Craig, which is 30 miles from the ferry stop. Why, you might ask, am I in Craig with two teams that I don't coach? I'm chaperoning. Cross country needed a female chaperone. I'm still not completely sure why I went but I'm not complaining, I got off the island for the weekend. Last night after arriving in Craig, the volleyball team had their first set of games. Each match was very close but the nighted ended 1-3. Today volleyball has another set of games and cross country has their match. Then tomorrow morning we get on the ferry, which I believe leaves at 8 AM, arrive in Ketchikan at about 11 AM, find something to do for 5 hours, and then board the 4:30 ferry to Metlakatla. After we get back at 6 PM, it's time to write lesson plans so that I can submit them for Monday. Did I mention that the school sent me on this trip, but there was a miscommunication so I didn't have a sub for my last two periods of the day. Oh well, it's over and done with now.
I'm convinced that Fridays are my worst day of the week. You would think that because it's almost the weekend I'd be glad to see the last school day of the week. It's sad but in the first three weeks of school, I've disliked Fridays the most. Fridays seem to be the day of more chaos and upset administration. I've even had the 'why am I doing this again?' days or the 'I'm here why?' feelings. I'm sure it'll pass. For the most part I really enjoy my job, there are just days. But it's like that in most jobs, everyone has days where they don't like their job. Mine just happen to be Fridays.
It is pretty here in Craig. The scenery is very nice. It's green and hilly. This island is bigger than the one I live on. I guess that was obvious when I mentioned that we had to drive 30 miles, Metlakatla doesn't have 30 miles of anything. I think the island that Metlakatla is on is 20 miles by 12 miles, this is much bigger. Ok, so if you went around most of the coast you could go 30 miles. It's interesting.
Well it's now 5 AM and I think I might try to find something else to do. Till next time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A lot too busy

Well it's been far too long since I've written on here. I made it through the second and almost all of the third week of school. It's been a little bit of an uphill battle but I'm trudging on. I know that things will get better.
Last Friday was a rough day. The beginning of the day wasn't too bad, but as the day progressed it just got worse and worse. I have one student in my choir who gives me more problems then most of the rest of the students I have. She wasn't at school during the first week so I didn't have to deal with her. She makes my rehearsals difficult but most of the time I ignore her. After lunch I had the whole seventh grade class. I have no idea why. They were terrible. It was so awful. I really wasn't fond of my job at the moment, or when I went home. I have some attitude problems in some of my younger grades and I'm just learning to deal with those. I'm making it through.
This week while going through concert band music, I realized that any music I wanted to play (heck any of the music the school owned) would have to be arranged for the group I have right now. We just got a new student and she plays the flute. So now I have 1 flute, 6 clarinets (one of which plays bass), 3 alto saxes, 1 tenor sax, 1 bari sax, and 5 percussion. How's that for instrumentation. My 8th grade band has 2 flutes, 1 clarinet, 1 alto sax, 1 baritone, and 2 trombones. I got another trombone on wednesday, she transferred in from Scuba. Oh and in 7th grade I have 4 flutes, 7 clarinets, 2 alto saxes, 5 trumpets, and 2 percussion. Isn't life fun.
Today we had the school open house. So I was there from 6-7:30 PM for that. I met several parents. Some came in just to say hi, a few of them stayed a chatted a little while. It was very positive. I also got a little bit of my room reorganized. I think things will be good. I didn't have any upset or irrate parents, which is good. I even stayed late talking to a parent because she was concerned how her 7th grader was doing in band. We had a great chat. It'll be good year. I'm looking forward to doing more with my groups.
Things are different in a small town but sometimes in a good way.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The first week

Well I made it through, not that there were any doubts that I would. The first week is over and I'm ready for the second, mostly. I teach in one week 14 classes of general music, h.s. band, h.s. choir, 7th grade band, and 8th grade band. It works out to 7 classes a day. My prep time is generally spent going between schools to check mail boxes, filling out purchase orders (it feels like I always need something right now it's neck straps), or trying to get a hold of people on the phone. So much for trying to get ahead. It all works though.
My first class of the day is high school band. I have about twenty students. The break down works out to be 1 trumpet, 4 clarinets, 1 bass clarinet, 3 alto saxes, 1 tenor sax, 1 bari sax, 6 percussionists, and several kids I haven't seen enough to figure out what they play. I also have several students who have never been in band but decided to do it this year. Fun. It's been interesting trying to pick out music when most of your ensemble is clarinets, saxes, and drums.
Next I usually see three classes of general music. It's interesting to say the least. I hear a lot of we never did that last year. Last year......(insert just about anything). Well hello wake up call. It is very evident to the students that this year will be very different. We spent some time last week going over rules, which we wrote as a class. It was a great exercise. I think in my general music class the third and 4th (and maybe 5th grade) will play recorders. I have tons of them. I want to get the 6th grade reading music because I'd like to give them the chance to play some band instruments after christmas. It's a lot of work to write your own curriculum but so far it's working, mostly.
High school choir is interesting but pretty fun. I have 8 students and only one of those is a guy. He doesn't match pitch really well but he is doing better. I ordered some samples of music since most of the music we own is pretty dated or it's sacred music. When that gets in we'll read through some of it and try to find music to work on. It's been interesting.
After lunch, I see seventh grade band. In 7th grade they are required to take band. Mandatory band is interesting to me but the kids seem to be ok with is, sort of. I'd like to get this changed and the high school principal would as well. The 7th grade band consists of 4 flutes (all guys for the record), 7 clarinets, 2 saxes, 4 trumpets, and 2 percussion. That isn't too bad. The behavior however leaves something to be desired but that just takes some work. They were miserable for the last music teacher but they'll find out soon enough that they better shape up. I handed out instruments on Friday but wouldn't let them take them home until after we went through a few things with them. So they'll get to take them home this week.
My last class of the day is 8th grade band. I have 6 students. The instrumentation is as follows: 2 flutes, 1 clarinet, 1 sax, 1 trombone, 1 baritone. It works for me. They are a good class.

The last thing to tell you about on this post (since I need to finish getting ready for work) is about saturday. Saturday I got a knock on my door about 1:30ish. It was two of my fellow teachers. They wanted to know if I was interesting in going for a walk. Sure. I went to go grab a pair of socks and when I returned to my living room it was announced that we were going to go to Yellow hill. Now Yellow hill is exactly what it sounds like, a yellow hill. The rocks are yellow. It's a bizarre sight in comparison to the rest of the scenery but very cool none the less. Well we walked out there, it's probably about a mile and a half from town, and then hiked up it. There is a great view from the top. I wish I had brought my camera. Next time I will so you can all see pictures. After awhile we hiked back down and walked back to town. Of course it started to rain when we were walking back. We decided to meet at 6:30 for dinner and a movie, (which was about an hour after we had gotten back to town). One person made the main dish, another a salad, and I brought dessert and the movie. We had a great time hanging out. It was a lot of fun. We'll probably do it again.

Well it's almost 7 and I need to eat breakfast, pack a lunch, and get things together to go to school.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The first two days of school

Well the first day of school was attended by the K-6, 7th, and 9th graders. So the only full classes I had were two general music classes and the 7th grade music class. This wasn't too bad. A half an hour is a really long time though for general music when your resources are very limited. We managed though. I was feeling fine when I was up and moving but the as soon as I stopped, which was at the end of the day, I felt pretty exhausted. Unlike the rest of the teachers, except the PE teacher, I teach all the grade levels. My schedule is h.s. band, three classes of general music, prep, h.s. choir, lunch, 7th grade band, and eighth grade band. It makes for a full day. I was pretty tired.

Yesterday was day two. The only class that wasn't in full attendance was h.s. band. I'll have them all today. It'll be interesting. The day went a fairly smoothly. We'll see how today goes. It'll be my first day of having everyone.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The end of inservice week

Yesterday and today have been fun filled work days. Ok, not really fun filled but work days none the less. I've had meetings each day too. My room is basically finished. There are a few thing here and there but I'll get them sorted out. I have lesson plans to write this weekend (I guess tomorrow is the only day left of the weekend) and I'll get to school early on Monday to finish a few setup things. A custodian is coming in tomorrow to hang a dry erase board in my room. It's not a great board but it'll work for what I need to do with it. I spent a little time today trying to get things set up with my smart board. We'll see what I can do with it. I like technology but I'm not sure when I'll incorporate it. I'll make it all work.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Days 3 and 4 of inservice

Yesterday we had another all day workshop. It was more of similar things to what we had done the day before. It was very informative but I don't totally know how I'll use it. Once again they fed us lunch it was Italian. There was a great salad, it had a little of everything. It had tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, green peppers, snap peas, etc. We had lasagna, garlic bread, and for dessert cookies. After we got out of inservice in the afternoon we had more classroom time. I was at the high school to work on a few things.

Today the K-8 teachers had workshops and the 9-12 teachers had a work day, it'll be the same tomorrow. I had a workday. I did a little work on my room and then we had a meeting at the high school. We broke for lunch, which was on our own, then returned to have another meeting and then time in our rooms. I spent the afternoon with the drama teacher fixing stage lights. I also worked on my band and choir contracts and my curriculum. The Spanish teacher also found a filing cabinet that I could have and it turns out it used to be a music filing cabinet. It also has two drawers full of music in it. That's getting moved to my room. It'll be interesting to see what we have in there.
Today while working briefly in my room, I found copies of old purchase orders from 97-98 where there was general music items ordered. Lots of items ordered. Many of these items must be in a black hole because I can't find them. Hmmm.
I did approach my superintendent about my plight of re-inventing the wheel and we're going to work on a plan so that I don't have to try to do that all year. He wants me to get things planned for the start of the year and then we'll try to improve the situation. Have I mentioned how much I like my administration. I spoke with the high school principal today about the band program and he was very receptive of the idea of starting band in 6th grade. This obviously wouldn't happen this year. Now to eventually run the idea past the rest of the administration.

Now to make dinner and continue my curriculum writing efforts.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Day 2 of inservice

It was a long day in the world of inservices. We were supposed to start at 8 AM but because of some travel things with our presenter, they moved it to 9 AM. This just meant I have about an hour in my room and I found more things to throw away. I'm really enjoying that. After some time there I went to the Elementary gym, it's really more of an all purpose room, for the activities of the day.
They have brought in an interesting speaker. The information is good and how he presents it is good. He reminds me of some of the speakers at workshops I've attended. My only downfall is that I have no idea how I will apply what we've been doing to my teaching. I think the material is great for general ed teachers who see their students at least three times a week. I'm just not afforded that luxury. The only students I see that often are the high school band and choir and the eighth grade band. There is no way that I can afford to spend the amount of suggested time out of rehearsal time on vocabulary instead of playing. I am in no way apposed to what we've been learning about I'm just having problems with the application in my situation. We were there from 9-12, were fed lunch, and back from 1-3:30. It's a long day in metal folding chairs, we do get a couple breaks and very often we are up and moving around but it's still long. Today we will be there from 8-12, be fed lunch, and 1-3:30. I think I may bring a pillow to sit on. Then Thursday and Friday, the K-8 teachers have two days of inservices while the 9-12 teachers have work days. I get work days. This is good because I think I'm re-inventing the wheel.
If you haven't caught up on the saga called the music curriculum, I'll fill you in. The only general music books left in my classroom are the 2002 edition of Making Music. I have at least one teacher book for each grade level K-6. I have a student edition for 1-6, and they don't make a student edition for kindergarten. I have the piano accompaniment book for k-3. I have resource books for K-3 (I think). Those last two I know I have the resource books for at least K-2, but I think I have them for K-3. I do not have any of the corresponding audio music that goes with, nor do I have any amount of audio music that is not on a record. I haven't gone through the records to see what is there and if it's usable. I need to find a way to convert the records over to a different format, MP3 would be ideal. I also just found out that there are more guitars over at the high school. Some of them need new strings but we could have a guitar class. I've never tried to re-invent the wheel nor do I really want to but I don't know what else to do so that I can have a productive and successful music class. Not to mention the K-2 classes I only see once a week for 30 minutes and 3-6 I see twice a week for 30 minutes. Like many K-12 jobs, there really needs to be a second music teacher just so that the students get more time in music. It used to be that way but I don't really know what happened. I will do the best that I can with what I have because that's what I can do and we can still have a great music program. It's going to be a lot of work, but most jobs are, and it'll be great.
Well it's off to another day of inservice and more writing curriculum.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 1 of Inservice

Well yesterday started our week of inservice. They fed us breakfast at nine o'clock and then we listened to the mayor, police chief, social services, and someone from the clinic talk to us. The we broke off, the certified staff met with their building principals and the classified met with the superintendent and the business manager. I think I'm th only one who has two building principals so it was sort of a coin toss to where I went. Sunday morning the high school principal had called me to see if I was ready to start and if I was getting settled. He also asked if I needed anything. Everyone here is very friendly and pretty helpful. I asked him about the building principal meeting and he told me to go with the elementary school and that I could just meet with him later. Works for me. After our meeting, we broke for lunch on our own. Yesterday and Thursday are the only days they are not providing lunch for us. After lunch the certified staff met with the superintendent and business manager. We received two packets of information, one was the negotiated agreement and the other was mostly policies but there were several forms to fill out and turn in. Then we were dismissed to our classrooms. Before going to my classroom, the new spanish teacher stopped me and asked me if I wanted the instruments out of her classroom at the high school. I had heard there were instruments over there but I didn't know where. I went over there to find 3 electric keyboards, a sousaphone, 3 guitars, a general music book from 1989, and three upright pianos. What a random assortment of things. None of the electric keyboards worked well or at all so we pitched those. The general music book was thrown out. So the sousaphone and guitars were taken back to my room. I have no idea what we're going to do with the pianos. One of them is falling apart so I think we can get rid of it along with the one in my classroom. The other two seem to be in decent shape but aren't in tune. I don't know what the school wants to do with them since we ordered a digital piano. Today I'll go find out. I got another surprise while at the high school. I had mail. There was a packet containing the information about the meeting in Juneau that I need to attend and about honor band and honor choir, including audition material. I also had two boxes. I got those back to my classroom and found that they contained my drum heads. Yay another thing to do.
I had a parent who works at the school stop me yesterday and ask if the kids were going to play instruments this year. I asked what grade. She has a pair of high schoolers and they're in the band. Well duh we're going to play instruments (that's not what I said to her). I told her that probably the first couple days we wouldn't play because I need to hand out instruments and things like that but after that we'd play pretty much every day. I guess last year they didn't play the whole time. I found this interesting. I don't know why you wouldn't play in band.
When I left school yesterday I brought home what I have in the general music department as far as teacher books. Those books are kinda heavy. I have been working on writing my curriculum since I don't have much there. I will probably try to use some of the Making Music books that I have but I'm going to have to come up with more to do since I don't have any of the music that goes with them and my classroom lacks audio music. I worked on some of that for a little while but didn't really get anything written down, partially because I still don't have my laptop. I was pretty tired at about 9 PM so I went to bed and was probably asleep by 9:30. I woke up at about 5:45 this morning.
On to day two of inservice.

Oh and I finally got most of my schedule. I don't have the elementary music finalized from the elementary principal but I know at least what block of time I see them. Basically it's band from 8-8:50, 8:55-10:40 elementary music, 10:45-11:35 Prep, 11:40-12:30 HS choir, then lunch, 1:15-2:05 7th grade band, and 2:10-3 8th grade band. I was told if I wanted to do stuff after school I could. I know that the drama teacher wants to do a musical in the spring and she approached me about working with her.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What a week

Well, I'm at the end of week 4. I've been in working on my classroom for two weeks and it looks much better. There is still more to do but I'm taking the afternoon off, I deserve to have a little fun on a Saturday. I have my two storage rooms cleaned and organized. I threw away almost a dumpster full of old, unusable stuff. I still have a few more things to throw out but I'll do that later.
Thursday I went to Ketchikan so that I could talk to the people at the music store. They had been waiting to hear from me. We went through my list of things that I needed and they gave me prices so that I could go back to my superintendent with a purchase order. Needless to say I spent 4 hours there. I needed new drum heads, the current ones have been patched with scotch and masking tape. It's a little scary. I needed a repair kit, a drum key, and a price on digital pianos and new bass drums. The school has two upright pianos and neither one is in even OK shape. The one in my classroom is about 50 cents flat and there is about an octave that is half a step flatter than the rest of the piano and isn't resonating well. The piano over at the high school, which I haven't seen but have been told about, is falling apart, literally. So, being on an island in Alaska, it's hard to get a piano tuner so I pitched the idea of a digital piano. That idea was well received. I ordered one. Next in my instrument mess is two timpani, which both need new heads but will wait till next year, three drum sets but only two snare drums, an assortment of cymbals and toys, a set of vibes, the pipes to I think a marimba but there are no bars so it's getting pitched, and a 36 inch bass drum which also needs new heads. Every drum I have hasn't had new heads put on in quite some time judging by the appearance, and the lack of drum key. Getting large drum heads in Alaska is difficult, the shipping alone is generally more then the heads themselves. This is the case with the timpani and bass drum heads. Getting timpani heads isn't too bad but 36" bass drum heads is a problem. I explained that ordering the two heads that I needed for the bass drum would cost half the price of buying a new, smaller drum with better heads and a new cradle. I got to order the new bass drum. I left the office doing the happy dance. My instrument collection lacks any sort of double reed instruments but in the future I plan on trying to get some. My next problem is that there is a very bad dent on the tuba. Instead of the tubing being round is this section it is almost flat. It's going in for repair to try to make it playable, then maybe next year we'll get a new one. It's really great to have supportive administration. Now if only I could approach the subject of general music curriculum because we don't have a complete set of anything more current than 1978 or possibly 1981. I just have a hard time going in and saying 'hey, I need $6,000 for K-5 curriculum, and add another $1,000 if you want me to add the 6th grade stuff.'
I have no idea what I'm going to teach yet, but I plan on working all next week, when I'm not in inservice, on my first at least month of lesson plans. I have plenty of instruments to do really cool Orff lessons. I have tons for recorders including alto recorders. I think maybe in the future I'd like to order some tenor recorders and maybe some bass recorders and do a recorder choir. I have enough recorders that 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade could do recorders. I have 20 sets of bells, about 25 hand drums, 5 of each type of xylophone that is generally used in Orff arrangements, two or three full sets including chromatics of Boom whackers, amid all the other instruments you would find in a general music classroom. There is a lot of potential here.
While working on my room today, I met the counselor from the middle and high school. He's very nice and we talked for a little while. There are 25 high school students signed up for band, it's the most he's ever seen signed up. I'm excited. We'll see how instrumentation pans out and maybe I can get some people to pick up a second instrument. A lot of people are excited that I'm here and amazed at how organized the music building is so far. Just wait till I'm totally done.
I'm excited about school starting but I don't totally feel ready just because there is still so much more that I need to do.
I did finally get an answer about my certification. I had originally sent in my application for certification at the end of June. It was returned to me in mid July because I had forgotten to put my citizenship on the fingerprint cards. After having mailed that back to them, I found out that I needed to send them my test scores from the Basic Skills test. I called later to check to see if they had gotten everything, they couldn't give me any kind of answer. Great. Finally a few days ago I noticed on my online banking that one of the pending transactions was the fees for certification. I thought this was pretty good but still couldn't find out anything online or from the people there. Finally yesterday, my classroom phone rang and it was the secretary to the superintendent asking about my certification. She had just received a phone call from the head of the department of education stating they had received my test scores but didn't have an application. I explained what I had done and she suggested that I call the department head directly. I called there and explained my situation and told her about the pending transaction and she found where everything had been placed and apologized for the inconvenience and that everything should go through in a couple of days. That was really good news since school starts on the 25th.
It's been a fun roller coaster so far, we'll see how things go.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm so sick of cleaning

Well it's been way to long since I've written here but in my defense I've been so incredibly busy. Starting last Monday I began working on my classroom. Initially walking into my room it didn't look to bad but it was really warm, then I went farther. I found out that someone had turned the heat up in the bathrooms to 90 degrees and left the bathroom doors open. I corrected that problem and opened the doors to the outside and the only window that would open. I next decided to find what I had. My office and the two storage rooms were packed full of stuff and looked about like a tornado went through. It was obviously that there was no organization to the area. I started to pull things out of my office so that I could start the organization process. I did that for a couple hours and then decided to break for lunch. I went back to the administration office to tell them I was going but I'd be back, since they had let me into the building. The superintendent's secretary directed me to the person who was in control of the keys. If you could judge the amount of work you had to do off of the amount of keys that you possess for that job, it might be time to turn and run when you have more keys than administration does. To be specific, I was handed a lanyard with 12 keys, yes that's right I said 12. This would be the point that in cartoons the main character ran away. Ok, in my situation, I should have ran away when I saw my classroom, but I'm what my parents refer to as a fire eater. The term fire eater here means that you can send this person into a situation and not only will they survive it but thrive in it. I'm glad that there is so much faith in my ability.
The entire week, except Thursday, I spent all day in my classroom organizing. The only time I left was to go check my mail and go home and eat lunch. Afterwards I'd return to the mess. I found general music books from the 1970's, the 80's, the early 90's, the 2002 editions. Do we honestly need books that old? When I left Friday, I had cataloged all of the choral music and was figuring out a solution on how to file it. Either Tuesday or Wednesday I met the elementary principal. He's very nice. He gave me the tour of the elementary building.
Thursday was a town holiday. It was Founder's Day. Now I think I've mentioned it before but I'll reiterate it, nothing here gets going any too early. The parade started at noon and went through town. It was the shortest parade I've ever seen but there were the typical veterans, fire trucks, people in costumes, along with two different groups of native dancers. It was very awesome. Instead of throwing candy the only thing thrown were boxes of poppers. (The fireworks that you throw at the ground and they make a popping noise.) Speaking of fireworks, you buy way cooler fireworks here. Where the parade ended, also known as the ball park even though there is nothing resembling a ball park there, there were booths set up with crafts and different types of food. It was pretty neat. There was also some native dancing done. It was a big town party. In the evening they set off fireworks, they did this till probably after midnight. I fell asleep sometime during it. I truly can sleep through anything.
After a quiet weekend, I returned back to school to continue work on my classroom. Monday I filed the choral music. One project down, too many more to go. In the afternoon the junior high/high school principal stopped by. He's also nice. We'll see how much he like me after I turn in purchase orders. I don't actually have a budget because I cover the whole district so depending on what grade level I need things for is who's budget it comes out of. It would be nice to have a figure to work with instead of turning in purchase orders and hoping that I can get what I need. I did however get permission to get rid of the old textbooks. Yay!!!
After finishing the bulk of the choir music, since there are a few odds and ends like music that was in a box that was left unfiled from last year or earlier, I moved to the instrumental music. I spent today sorting it and filing it. I did not however catalog it. I figure that I need to continue making progress on my room for the next several day. If I get as much as I can organized, I can spend my evenings of inservice week working on curriculum. I have no idea what I'm going to do yet. The only thing I know about my schedule, since I can't get a straight answer about anything, is that I have k-2 for 30 minutes a week (so I see them once a week), 3rd-6th for 60 minutes a week (2 times a week for 30 minutes), 7th, 8th, and high school band, and high school choir. In there somewhere I have a 30 minute planning time and a 30 minute lunch. I'm interested to see how this is going to work. The elementary principal did say that I was probably the busiest person and that I'd basically given up before school, during school, and sometimes after school by accepting this job. Don't all music teachers give up their lives to an extent. Well at least I'll be busy.
Tomorrow is a new day and I have every intention on finishing a storage room and most of my office. Then I need to tackle the other storage room. I'm still waiting a two more filing cabinets so that I can get more organized. Did I mention that the school can't find my computer? I have a smart board, audio and visual equipment, and a printer but currently no computer. This would be another reason that I didn't feel too motivated to catalog all the band music. I'll get there. I need to finish finding out what general music instruments we have and figure out how we're going to store the percussion equipment. Among other things.
It's a big job but I have no doubt that I can tackle it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Everybody dies famous in a small town

So I stole the title from a country song, but I really believe it's true. It's the beginning of week two. Woohoo!
I walked to the ferry to go to church on Sunday. It's a two mile walk. I got a lot of strange looks, but I had a great time. Then I got to sit on the ferry for an hour and a half. Not too interesting but I talked to a few people. The salmon were swimming next to the ferry. That was cool. I got off the ferry and started my hike to church. It's probably about a mile from the ferry stop and it's literally a hike. It's uphill both ways. The hills are like the hills in San Francisco only the roads aren't that long. So needless to say it was a pretty steep hike. Luckily there's a boardwalk for part of one of the streets. I'm not sure that stairs are better but it does make the hills more bearable. I got there a few minutes before church started. This may sound slightly sac religious, but if you added a bear pelt and a couple moose or deer heads on the wall it would've looked like a hunting lodge. I've never been in a chapel that was wall to wall wood. The upholstery on the benches was green, like I said hunting lodge like. The people were really nice. They sing really loud too. It was awesome. After church I went to a really nice couple's home for lunch and to hang out till it was time to go to the ferry. We had a pasta salad, biscuits, and salmon. Yes, I had fish and it's was pretty good. When I got back on the ferry I ran into a family from church. We talked the entire ride back. They even gave me a ride home. We exchanged phone numbers. Yay for making friends.
Yesterday it rained and rained and rained some more. I still didn't have cable and it'd been a week. Well it turns out that they went to the wrong house. They came and fixed it today. I finally have cable and I signed up for netflix. I have 40 channels and there isn't much to watch. I still have a few boxes left to unpack. Not real interesting but necessary. I think it's raining again. It's done that on and off today. Well it is a rain forest. The scenery is still great. I can't say that there is too much exciting is going on but maybe tomorrow I will go explore more.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Still not quite unpacked

Well we got into Metlakatla on Sunday afternoon. We had about an hour and a half between ferries so we went to Walmart in Ketchikan. It's the smallest one I've ever been to and they by far have the cleanest bathrooms of any Walmart I've been to. We picked up a few things and then waited for the ferry. It is an hour and a half ferry ride from Ketchikan to Metlakatla. It was pretty and very uneventful. My landlord met us at the ferry stop and took us to my house. It's a good thing because I've only seen one street sign in the whole town. I don't know if people even know themselves what streets are what but pretty much everyone knows where everyone lives. It's quite unique to me. After we got in, we got a tour of the house and then my landlord gave us a whirlwind tour of the town. I do mean whirlwind, I think the only places I remembered how to get to from there were the post office and the hardware store. Upon getting back, mom and I started to unload the uhaul. We stopped when it started to rain harder. We unloaded the entire uhaul by ourselves. So of course after that we were beat.
Monday we took to uhaul back to Ketchikan and experienced the public transportation. You can ride the bus for a dollar and get an all day pass for two. It's pretty awesome. Mom and I went to Walmart and to A&P for some groceries. Then it was back to the ferry. We then worked on unpacking.
Tuesday I went and set up my utilities and went to the post office. I also went and introduced myself at the superintendent's office. I've never lived anywhere that I had to apply for residency and a work permit, but that is part of living on a reservation. Everyone is very nice. The district has a new superintendent and a new high school principal. When we got home, we continued to unpack.
Wednesday we explored a little more of town. We went to the hardware store which was unlike any hardware store I'd ever been in. The sell just about everything. We then went to the local grocery store and got a few things like vegetables. It was kinda expensive, but not too bad, and it is an island after all. We unpacked some more.
Thursday, I don't know that we were as productive as we could've been but eventually Mom had to go to the ferry stop. Which is the only thing in town that is far to walk to. It's probably about 2 miles away. (Maybe it's a mile and a half). We started walking there and got most of the way when my neighbor stopped and asked it we wanted a ride to the ferry. We took him up on it. Well mom did at least. I had walked my bike with so I left mom in the care of my neighbor and biked home.
I'm still waiting for cable hookup, so I've watched about half of the dvds that I own. I still have a few boxes to unpack but some of them have to wait until I get the bookcases that my dad made for me put together. Otherwise I have some straightening to do and some organizing. I'll probably take my bike out for a spin today too.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Day 6

Today was our first full day on the ferry. I woke up at about 5 AM Alaskan time which is 8 AM CST. I got up this morning and went outside and took pictures. I have taken lots of pictures on this trip. I will try to get them all posted soon. The coastal mountains are gorgeous. This ferry ride makes up for all the less than interesting scenery along the way. We had some rough waters on our second open ocean passing. I fell asleep and proceeded to sleep through it, so did my mother. Otherwise it has been pretty smooth sailing. Mom is obviously bored because she keeps buying snacks or games to play. I've slept, listened to music, or knitted. My little brother's afghan is coming along well. It's about 6 feet wide, maybe wider, and he wants it almost 8 feet long. So I have 7 feet to go. It has also rained today. Currently we are sailing along through some fog, and lots of it. The trip has gotten foggier as we have gone along.

We have sailed through several straits and seen great waterfalls. This morning we also saw whales. The most of the whales that we saw were the tail. We also saw blow holes. It was probably the most exciting thing that has happened on the boat that they made an announcement about. Unless you count the presentations on how to be aware with bears.

In the morning we will get into port in Ketchikan, or Ketch-a-chicken as many of my friends have called it. We should arrive in port at 7 AM. We will then get the truck off the boat and make a run to walmart before catching the next ferry. The ferry from Ketchikan to Metlakatla leaves at 10:30 AM but we have to be there two hours early. So if we are lucky we will get about an hour away from the ferry docks. We'll see what happens.

Mom has talked to a lot of people while we have been on this trip. You know how your parents always told you not to talk to strangers as you were growing up? That didn't work really well with my parents because they talked and still talk to anyone, so growing up it was hard to tell who the strangers were. We have met a lot of nice people on this trip.

Well we have a busy day tomorrow and bed is calling my name. I will post again as soon as I have internet access again. Thank goodness for wireless on the ferry.

Days 4 and 5

Day 4 - We spent the entire day in Bellingham. We didn't do anything very exciting except look for rain gear. I am going to a place that gets 10 feet of rain a year. Yes I did just say 10 feet. We looked through the mall. It's the smallest mall I've been to with so many major department stores. We met some very friendly people.

Day 5 - We got up and went to see Dark Knight. Yay for the new Batman movie. I enjoyed it and was very surprised that places played movies at 9:00 in the morning. We also drove around trying to find Grizzly Tool. We found a warehouse but didn't successfully find a showroom. I need a square drill bit to screw a few bookcases my dad built me but didn't assemble, they're easier to transport that way. We also struck out at Home Depot and Lowes. We went to Walmart to do a little grocery shopping. We got non-perishable food stuff since it's probably cheaper than what we'd find in Alaska. Then it was off to the ferry. I went and got the tickets while mom waited in the truck. The nicest guy was behind the counter, he wasn't too bad looking either. After that we went to the loading dock. The guy at the guard shack was very nice and he picked on mom, which was fun. Then we played the waiting game. We went and sat in the line they told us to be in. We got things ready for the trip. After about 30 minutes they told us we could park on the ferry. That was a new experience. Mom had loads of fun, not. The guys directing her started to get a little frustrated because she would over turn the wheel. It all turned out ok. We were one of the first people on the ferry so we staked out a couch to sit on. It was pretty nice and we put our names on the waiting list for a cabin, we were 8th on the list. We wondered around the ship and finally settled in the forward observation deck. Lots of people talked to us.
We were finally underway and sitting eating some decent ship food when all of a sudden over the speaker came my name. Mom practically ran down to the purser's desk. We had gotten a cabin. She was so excited, now we didn't have to sleep on deck chairs. It's a 4 person cabin, so two sets of bunk beds, a sink, a chair, a small table, and a bathroom. We also have a great window view. We then talked to some more people including a women who is going to Barrow to teach grade school. Then it was off to bed.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day 3

We started our trip in Montana and drove the last 100 miles through there. The scenery was nice but nothing too exciting. Next we drove into Idaho. Very hilly. When we drove through Coeur d'Alene it reminded me of being at Lake Como in Italy. After that Idaho got flat. It was like that through a lot of Washington. Eastern Washington wasn't very exciting. When we got to the Columbia River, we pulled over at a scenic view and took some pictures.

After that the scenery was much better. It was probably the best scenery so far on this trip. Of course that meant more mountain driving. After we got out of the mountains we were in Seattle. The sun was in our eyes a lot. Next it was off to Bellingham.

The drive wasn't very exciting but Bellingham is kinda in the middle of nowhere. I definitely expected something more city like. We will be in Bellingham until Friday afternoon, when we get on the ferry and head up to Alaska.