Saturday, December 11, 2010


We have one more week of school until winter break starts.   I’m looking forward to spending a few weeks with my wife back in Wenatchee.  When she asked me what I wanted to do when I got home, everything I thought about involved eating.  And if it didn’t involve eating, it was sandwiched between eating.  Yes, I know I just used a delicious combination of meat, cheese, mayo and bread as a verb. 

This past week I said a phrase that I’ve never said before.  No, it wasn’t, “No thanks, I’m full” or “I think I’ve had enough to drink” or “Now that I look at it that way, I can see how I was mistaken”.  As I was sitting at my desk looking out the window, I said “What a beautiful sunrise this afternoon!”  The shortest day of the year is still a week and a half away, but it does take awhile for the sun to come out now.  The horizon starts to lighten at about 10:30, but it takes until after 12:00 to fully come over the horizon.  Even when it does, it doesn’t get very high in the sky, like in the summer.  It hangs just above the horizon, uneasy to stray too far in the sky. 

Last week also included Pearl Harbor Day, 69 years after the attack.  I asked the class on Tuesday morning what had happened 69 years ago.  I don’t think anyone watched CNN that morning because the only answer that followed was “that the dinosaurs became extinct”.  I guess their teacher should get on the ball and teach them something.  I had told the class earlier in the school year that I had been stationed at Pearl Harbor, so of course they all wanted to know if I was there during the attack.  I hope I convinced them with a time-line that there were many years between the attack on Pearl Harbor and my birth.  Now I have to convince one student that when I was born, dinosaurs were not roaming the planes; they were busy being oil. 

With less than a week until I head south, I’m trying to decide how to pack.  I will have to wear my cold weather gear because we are below zero here, and it looks like it will stay that way for a while.  I need my parka and boots for the plane ride to Bethel, but I don’t want to wear them once I get on a big plane, since they take up a lot of room and aren’t very comfortable.  But I need them incase I have to stand outside at one of these little airports here.  This decision will take up most of my time between now and when I leave, so at least I’ll keep busy.  Plus I’ll have to decide my meal plan when I’m home.  Maybe if I’d spend as much time planning what I will teach as I spend planning what I will eat, my students wouldn’t confuse me with the Flintstones. I’ll get to that right after I figure out what I’m going to make for lunch. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I wish I could get excited about snow the way kids do.  There is joy in their eyes as they watch it fall. These kids have lived their entire lives in Alaska and still run to the window when someone says, “Hey, it’s snowing!” They also run to the window when I say, “Is that a bear eating a bucket of chicken?”  The reason they have such delight in their eyes when they see snow is because they never had to pick up a shovel and move the snow.  

I guess snow can be fun until you’re up to your greater trochanter in a snowdrift (look it up on WebMD, and no, it’s not dirty). The wind blows most of the time here and the snow is able to organize itself and block our way to the school. I had to help a fellow teacher out of one of those drifts yesterday morning. When she asked for help, I explained that I didn’t want to be an enabler, so she should learn how to work her own way out of the snowdrift.  I couldn’t see her face since it was dark, and I couldn’t hear what she was shouting at me because of the wind.  I’m sure she was smiling and thanking me for the sage advice.   I wonder what she’ll get me for Christmas this year.

I hate to darken the mood of this blog with sadness, but I received some terrible news yesterday.  The Nalley’s chili plant in Tacoma is being shut down and will be moved to Iowa.  I hope it’s not something I said or did.   Iowa for God’s sake!  First, they took our basketball team and now our chili.  Wait, that was Oklahoma. This outsourcing of our jobs has to stop. 
With no disrespect to SPAM, I do have a favorite food that I eat up here.  It is Nalley’s chili over rice, with cheddar and Tabasco.  I learned of this culinary delight while I lived in Hawaii.  Chili and rice is popular there, as is any food and rice.  I eat chili and rice 2-3 times a week because it is easy to make and so damned delicious.  But now I’m not sure if it will still be available. It’s too soon to start looking for other brands.  Even if I try a new chili, I’ll still be thinking of Nalley’s.  Nalley’s, I will not accept your friendship request on Facebook.

With the calendar showing that my trip south is getting closer, I’m getting anxious about the weather.  If the weather is not cooperating, aircraft can be grounded for long periods.  This past week we had visitors from the state department of education and they had their stay extended by two days.  They sat in classrooms with their bags at their side for two days, waiting for a break in the weather.  Although they were eager to run to the window to see if it was still snowing, they weren’t enthusiastic about a bear eating fried chicken.  Apparently they aren’t very curious.