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!!!


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.