My wonderful friend Erin Kavanaugh thought that would be a great title for my next blog posting. It sounds like a children's story to me, but I suppose it fits.
As some of you know, this past week I headed to Town (Anchorage) for a professional development opportunity. Now, opportunity....there is a word that I can never use in the same way after having taught and worked at Maple. Our principal there was a great man, and ever the optimist. He would use "opportunity" as a descriptor of some odd things. In that light, I might say that last weekend I had the opportunity to change the Big Red Fred's oil in the icy driveway of the Tundra Oasis when it was 15 degrees out. Or, I might say I had the opportunity to sit in a class being taught to teachers by people who don't teach. I also just had the opportunity to watch the Illini take a 17-10 lead over Bucky.
So the class was pretty much like having a tooth drilled-all day long, for two days. It was a good chance for me to reflect on how much it must suck for MY students when I'm having an off day. The benefit of this class was that I gained a core curriculum and endorsement from CEF (Construction Education Foundation) that is by no means limited to construction trades. At some time this could come to benefit my students, but probably not under the current configuration. Perhaps the bigger plus was networking with CTE teachers from all over the state. Some of the guys had some pretty interesting stories from the areas they came from. For example, one guy who teaches in Barrow was saying that the daylight changes by 20 minutes per day right now. Talk about rapid change...they will be in complete darkness very soon. From talking to some of these cats I got the sense of how unique each area of the state is, and some of the strange ins and outs that go along with them.
So I didn't want to give the impression that the whole trip was torture. This organization put us all up in a really nice hotel. Big bathtubs, down comforters, big screen TVs and drop-dead beautiful desk workers. It was a nice place. The view out the window wasn't bad either.
The mall was right nearby, which afforded me the chance to finally get a haircut (the first since mid-July) and I went ahead and tamed the beard as well, which I think was probably due.
I got to go out for a couple of good meals. One was take-out from a nice pizza joint at the mall. On the walk in, I noticed several dads with their little boys with little hockey sticks walking in to the mall. As I waited for my pie to cook, I walked over and watched the little kids' hockey practice in the rink that serves as sort of an atrium for the mall. I felt bad for some of the kids who couldn't do the drills. One kid was brought back to the side with a stick, like he was a big hockey puck in a green sweatshirt.
The next night, Thursday, I was feeling a little stuffy, so I went to a nearby Thai restaurant that came highly recommended from Wednesday's Foul Mouthed Latin Cabbie. He used so much profanity in describing the quality of food here that I knew had to go try it. The spicy curry I had really cleared out the stuffy head, and yes, Cabbie, I would agree that it was some kick @## mutha *#*$@# ! #!***, brother. Way better chow than what's in Bethel.
Also, I got to pick up some needed supplies before heading back. Some new shoes, some mitts, and some toiletries. And there is a Sportsman's Warehouse. That place is a little slice of Heaven right there in Anchorage. It's kind of like Gander Mountain, only dare I say a little better.
Finally, it was back to Anchorage International for my trip back to Bethel. Here's one of the many impressive mounts in the airport, a world record brown bear.
By the way, I found out that security really does not apppreciate if you lose your boarding pass in the process of taking off your shoes, coat, backpack, and emptying your pockets in a big rush. Security guy "Boarding pass?!?" Me "Umm...crap. Sir, I think it's in your X-ray box." Security guy "What's it doing in there? You need your boarding pass!" Fortunately it turned up in one of the plastic tote bins as I rifled through my stuff coming out of the X-ray box. I was becoming fearful of the "question room."
As I wrote this story, I had the opportunity to watch Bucky come back and beat those Illini. And tomorrow, I have the opportunity to head out to Newtok and start my next assignment.
kale is back
2 years ago