Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mendenhall Glacier

Good old Mendenhall Glacier. I would have to say, it is my favorite place in Juneau!

Teaching Story 5

This is a story about Robert. Robert was in the fourth grade and homeless. Robert had set a record for most suspensions and ripping apart the class/ school the previous year. I was new at this school. At the teacher inservice before school started a lady came into my class crying.

She, Robert, an older brother, little sister and baby brother were homeless and school started in 2 days. They had lived in low income housing but at an inspection, the house did not meet standards so they had to leave the home: HOMELESS! Mom and 4 kids.

They were living in the car just outside my school. Robert was big and he had a separation problem mom told me. He will hold on to mom with a death grip when mom was to leave. When the separation took place, he would explode and get objects and throw them. It was a regular pattern mom said. She cried that she wanted Robert to do well in school. She knew it was important. Robert could not read, write or do math. I told mom that I would take control of Robert when she needed to leave and I would stop and dangerous behaviors. i went out to the car and talked to Robert. He seemed very shy.

They spent the last few nights in the car by the school. The first day came and mom was in with Robert in tow. Robert was almost as big as mom and hiding behind her. I showed him the room and got him a snack and mom left uneventfully. He did well. The counselor came in and we talked to her about finding housing for Robert's family. She went out to the car and talked to mom after talking to Robert and I. We got his family into a motel until housing came available. The counselor found furniture for them. Robert worked hard in school after this. The separation problem did happen a dozen times but I would pull him off mom and he would try to throw but we took him away from others and things. It took less time and less intense with each episode.

He did have blowouts during the year, but much less than before. He learned to read and do math. He even went in front of the school board because of his great gains. He had two great years and I was pleased to be his teacher.

It is snowing!

We have snow in Juneau. It is sloppy and wet and will melt soon. It means that the ski resort is getting snow for the opening next Saturday. I can ride to the top! Hiking to the top gets old fast. Along with that, the old snow was grainy and rained on, not good for snowboarding. (Sounds like an excuse for snowboarding like crap.) We need new snow so I can be an accomplished snowboarder - THE PROBLEM WAS THE SNOW!

Hope all are having a good Sunday.

Teaching Story 4

This is about Juan (name has been changed). Juan was the oldest child of illegals from Mexico. I knew him when he was in HS. His brothers and sisters were born in the US, so they were US citizens. His parents had lived in the US for 15 years and worked on farms.

Juan and his uncle would go out every 4 hours and change irrigation pipe for a local farmer. (His uncle would do it while Juan was in school.) They would switch off on the middle of the night changes. They had this job for a few months.

One day, Juan came to me and told me he wanted to beat up the farmers son. We talked and this is why he was mad. When Juan went to get his monthly pay for work already done, the son, also a high school student, told Juan, "You won't get paid for doing that this month." He went on to call him wetback and I will call immigration if you say anything. Juan wanted to quit school, beat the boy up and move because a migrant worker could get a job at lots of places at that time. Juan was a senior, the other boy was a junior. Juan could have easily crushed the farmers son.

Another teacher an I talked to Juan about finishing school to set a good example for his brothers and sisters. If he dropped out, the liklihood of them dropping out increases greatly. Juan made it through his senior year! He and his parents went on to become legal shortly after graduation.

October Picture

This picture is from October, before the snow. Now, this pond has a little ice with water on top. That was as of last week. Three weeks ago, it was frozen over with snow, but now the snow has mostly melted.

Teaching Story 3

Name has been changed.

Robert2 started the year yelling, screaming and throwing chairs. He could neither read, write or do math. "I am stupid" was a common comment by him. We got him learning, he made friends and he showed good improvement. He had some goofy behaviors but they were less and less.

One day, he came to school and started throwing chairs, desks, etc. He was upset. He was worse than I remembered. We isolated him so he could not hurt himself or others and he settled down. I called mom:

I got this message: "Linda, you fu--ing bitch. You were sleeping with my man so i beat the shit out of you. I hate your fu--ing guts - you wh--e, I threw all your shit out into the street, come and get it. I will beat the shit out of you when you come:"

The tone rang: I said, I am Robert2's teacher and he is having a very bad day, could you please call or come to school immediately.

She never called. I went back and asked if things were rough at his house last night. He just cried.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I went snowboarding today! I had to hike up to the top of this lift and then snowboard down. I was terrible!!! That was so bad- Yikes! I will do it again next week though.

If I break something, you have permission to laugh. I should be cross country skiing but my daughter feels I need to snowboard. My snowboarding is not a pretty sight but it is kind of fun, so I will keep trying to improve. (or break something)

Another Sunny Day picture on a rainy day!

It is getting light at 8:15 AM and getting dark at 3:30 PM here in Juneau.

Teaching Story 2

Names have been changed.
I taught a 2nd boy who was always fighting and getting into trouble. His name was Chance Johnny _______. He could not read and had no friends. He lived in a foster home with his sister. The Foster family were 2 nuns. The Nums and I decided to take a hard stand with him. I asked why he was named Chance? His mom named him that because. "You don't have a fu--ing chance in this world." I started calling him Johnny after hearing that. When he felt like fighting, I made him run laps. He became a good runner. I also made him come off running and read. He learned to read too.

I was at my daughter's college graduation and one of the Nums saw me. Johnny was at the same ceremony because his sibling just graduated. Johnny was to get out of the army in 3 months and he was planning on college. It was great to see him and talk about his past and future. His buddies still call him Chance.

The nuns kept both kids through their schooling and beyond. I believe those two women saved those two kids. They are heroes. They had only planned on having the kids for a year, to stabilize them after the chaos of abuse, alcohol and drugs from bio mom.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Up the road

A True Juneau Story

A fellow was driving his pickup with a camper down the road. A guy on a motorcycle was driving about 100 MPH on our one highway, weaving in and out of traffic. The motorcyclist ran into the back of the pickup. The fellow in the pickup stopped and looked to see what had hit him. He saw a motorcycle but no person. He saw the camper door caved in and then he saw his two dogs stick their heads out off the door. Then he heard the groans. A third head, a person, got in his sight. The fellow was beat up pretty bad.

An ambulance came and took the motorcyclist away. The driver asked why the motorcycle fellow had so much blood in the groin area. Evidently, the biker had a couple of piercings on his penus. When he went flying through the camper, his piercing got caught on something and ripped his Johnson up pretty good.

By the way, the truck and camper were totalled as was the motorcycle.

Note: There are not a lot of places to travel fast. Going 60 MPH is quite rare here. There are no real freeways.

Eaglecrest Ski Area

Today, I hiked up a slope to check out the snow. There is about 8 inches at the bottom and about 20 inches on top. There were about 8 or so others that hiked up and either snowboarded or skied down after walking up. I have the stuff and should have done the same. It officially opens Dec 6.

Eaglecrest Ski Area

Here is the ski area in Juneau. It is about 15 minutes from my apartment.

Cloudy again today

Thought I would put up a picture of a rare sunny day.

Teaching Stories

I am a teacher. I am going to use this forum on occasion to highlight the lives of some of my past students. Names have been changed.

I taught Robert many years ago. Robert did not want to be in school and he prided himself on not doing any work in school. I felt it was a waste of his life and after contacting his parents, I started keeping him after school for 1.5 hours, 4 days a week until he started completing his work. We had an activity bus which set the amount of time I would need to keep him. It took 2 weeks before Robert got the hint and he started working. One day another student came to my class and did the, "I don't work in school talk." I was so happy when Robert went up to him and told him about his staying after school and it being easier to work. The new boy took Robert's advice.

Sad: One Monday, Student came to school devastated. His dad had been depressed about losing his job. On Saturday. Robert had been off playing and his mom was working and Robert went to look for his dad. He looked in the shed out back and found his dad, dead. His father committed suicide with a shot gun and Robert found him. Robert continued to come to school and worked even harder than he had previously. As time went by, I asked him why he was doing better.

Robert said, "My dad always wanted me to do well in school."

Thursday, November 27, 2008


The Eagles were everywhere at Mendenhall this Thanksgiving Day. They were chirping and chattering like crazy. One flew about 10 feet above me and they are quiet gliders. You really do not hear much when they fly. Below this bird, there was another eagle sittin on another, lower tree. An eagle flew up to the lower tree eagle and flew right into it. They kind of fought a bit and then both flew off. Then I looked up and saw this eagle with his wings out. I can leave my apartment and be at this place checking out eagles in about 20 minutes. Kind of neat.


Mendenhall Glacier - Thanksgiving

Here is a picture of Mendenhall Glacier on Thanksgiving Day 2008. There are a lot of eagles hanging round the glacier. The snow is mostly gone and the ice is giving way to water again.


Hope you are having a great Thanksgiving! I am being lazy so far.
Yesterday for lunch, I had a deer meet sandwich. Another teacher bagged a deer and he brought some to school.

It is a cloudy and rainy day in Juneau. The usual weather really.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rain - past few days.

We have had rain the past few days. Not a downpour but a rain. Lots of clouds. It has been very busy at school. It sure keeps me busy and tired out. Things are going well though, I am pleased with where I am. I will have Thanksgiving at a teacher's house. She was kind enough to invite a few people over. I have been told that the food is great.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rain Today!

We are back to rain. In the early afternoon, it was raining hard and it looked like early evening. It was dark and rainy all day long. There was snow falling up in the mountains though. We need the snow in the mountains.

More Snow on Mendenhall Lake

There is fresh snow on the glacier and the lake. There is not enough ice to walk on the lake but it is looking like it is freezing over.

Eagle Tracks on the snow

The eagle walked on the snow and left these tracks. The track is about as big as my hand. I was surprised at how big those talons are. I also found a spot where the eagles at something. I assume it was a fish but nothing was left so I really could not tell.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bear seen! (Not by me though)

A bear was seen IN DOWNTOWN JUNEAU!! It was sleeping in a tree behind a pizza parlor in town about 11/14. They tranquilized the bear and took him out to the woods and let him go. His picture was in the local paper.

Light at the end of the tunnel

In Juneau, if the sun shines at all, you take pictures. The sun will not last long here. Do you see the little bit of sun at the end of the tunnel?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Snowed yesterday

It started snowing about noon Thursday. We got about 2 inches of snow. I had to park my truck down the hill. I still do not have chains.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The Story of Stuff: CUT AND PASTE

This picture taken while hiking on the Sunny Sunday. Weird: No rain for 5 days! Now we need snow for the ski season to start. We have had almost constant rain, until 5 days ago. The temperature has dropped so, we would have snow in the mountains if we get the moisture. It is OK to rain again, so we can get our snow. (I have a season pass at the ski area, so I want lots of snow.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This is an article from MatSu, Alaska. It was written by a tenth grade girl and her impressions of the election of President-elect Obama. This young lady has some important words. I am most impressed. CUT AND PASTE

20 to 30 degrees, No Rain

Since our Sunny Sunday, we have had no rain! It has been cold and windy though. Monday, the wind was gusting to 40 MPH. It was about 30 degrees. Today it was splitting snow and 25 - 30 degrees. No rain though. It has been cloudy Monday and Tuesday.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunny Sunday at Mendenhall Glacier

This is Mendenhall Glacier on a Sunny Sunday, 11/16/08. Notice the blue sky and no clouds! That never happens here. If we have a day with no rain, it is a reason to celebrate. THIS WAS SUN!!!! ALL DAY LONG, WE HAD SUN!!!!

The lake is freezing over. In the foreground, there is breaking ice. You could hear it crackle, pop and crack as the sun hit it. I was talking to a fellow who said he was able to ice skate on the ice this past week. I want to cross country ski to the glacier this winter.

I do not have sun glasses here either. I will bet that it will rain tomorrow! We do not have 2 nice days in a row here in Juneau. I was told that Ketchican is rainier than Juneau.

Mendenhall Glacier 11/16/08 - sunny

This is Mendenhall in the winter sun. IT WAS A SUPER SUNNY DAY! An iceberg broke off exposing the blue ice. THAT ICE AT THE BOTTOM IS OVER 200 YEARS OLD! It is a very beautiful blue.

There are now salmon back in the streams but the bears have not been seen for about 3 weeks. I was talking to a Ranger. He also drove my old pickup truck, when it was a FS vehicle. My truck was the work truck for Mendenhall.

It was sunny and beautiful in Juneau!!! Mark it on the calendar - rare event here!

Down the road to nowhere! Sunshine!

I call it the road to nowhere because it just goes for 20+ miles and stops at campground. If we had more days like this, people would flock to this place. This sun is a rare thing here though. We have had maybe 2 days like this since I came late August. There have been 3-5 other sunny days but it was sun and clouds. Today was straight sunshine.

It did melt some surface water on the road and then froze creating black ice. I saw two cars that went off the road. No one got hurt.


We had sunshine on Sunday, Nov 16, 2008. I took a drive to take pictures. I went to Mendenhall Glacier and it was absolutely beautiful. Some more ice broke into the lake so there is fresh blue ice to see. The lake is lightly frozen. I also met the fellow who drove my pickup truck today. He told me he liked my truck. I bought a used forest Service truck which was for sell in Juneau.

I drove down the road to nowhere and hiked as well as taking this picture. On the way back, the moisture on the road froze and turned to black ice. Two vehicles went off the road. One was upside down and the other went into the trees. I made it with no problem.
The police and tow truck were helping the vehicle who went off the road.

Sunshine!! 11/16/08

We had sunshine 11/16/08 - ALL DAY!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Uncle Alton

I want to say goodbye to my Uncle Alton. He was a fellow that played his guitar whenever he was able. Singing was just a part of him. He passed away a week ago and he will be missed. I hadn't seen him in many years but I have some pleasant memories about Uncle Alton. The following link is Uncle Alton playing some of his music.

CUT AND PASTE if you want to see it.

Beaver Dam

Beaver Dam: Since I put up the tree the beaver cut down, I thought I should show his finished product. They have dams all over the place at Mendenhall Glacier Park. The Eagles, Bears and Beaver hang around in the same area. Most of the animal pctures were taken right by the Beaver dams.

Beaver Activity/ Uncle Alton

There is a beaver family at Mendenhall. They have made a good sized pond. They took down a good sized tree. I did get a picture of one beaver's head in the water but was not too great of a shot.

Did you know: The beavers front teeth continually grow. If they do not chew, the teeth would grow through their lower chin. They must keep chewing or they will die.

The video is my Uncle Alton playing the guitar and singing. He passed away last week.
Whenever I saw Uncle Alton, he had his guitar and loved to play it. He was a good man.

Ghostly presence?

I was hiking to Herman Glacier and saw 3 old cars, rusting out. I took a picture of this and it was foggy. I took another picture - it came out foggier and the third foggier still. THERE WAS NO FOG AT THE CAR! It was damp but no cloud - Ghostly!!!

I did hear weird wind sounds by the car as I was hiking out. I said bye and have a good evening to my ghostly friend.

Hiking to Herman Glacier

Here I was about 1.5 miles from Herman Glacier and I started seeing snow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

two eagles

Here are two eagles. I saw about 4 eagles flying around like they were playing. They were chirping a lot too. They have big wing spans so seeing them fly around together was pretty spectacular. I did not have a lot of time to shoot pictures as they flew around so I just watched.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A true bear story!

A parent told me this at a parent conference today:
Her relative sent her a 300 bear picture on her cell phone - amazing.

There was a dead beached whale here in Alaska. On the dead whale were 300 bears, having dinner. I did not see the picture, but I could sure imagine. I think the place she was talking about has Grizzly bears, not our cute black bears. That would be a pretty amazing picture.

Bear on the trail!

This was about 3 weeks ago. I was hiking. I walked around a corner and came within about 5 feet of this bear. He was in the grass and bushes digging. I saw him, stopped and backed up. As I was backing up, I took out the camera and took a few pictures.


I saw this bear about 3 weeks ago. I was on a viewing platform, so I could watch and take pictures - no big deal. He went around the corner, jumped in the water, got a salmon and took it to some trees and ate.

It is getting dark about 4:00 PM.


This little Porcupine was nibblin grass at Mendenhall Glacier. See him smile for the camera? Things are freezing up so getting food in the future will mean digging through snow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

6 eagles or more

Today, I saw at least 6 different eagles at Mendenhall Glacier. What was amazing is that they talk to each other. They were chirping away and it is quite loud too. They seem to like to stay in groups. I saw a lot of pairs of two. There wss one very large bird. I was walking down the path and heard this flapping. There was this big eagle just above leaving a tree. I had been looking down when I should have looked up.

No Bears: I think they have gone up higher to where the deer are. The snow is just now starting to build up and the snow drives the deer down off the mountains. The bear go where the food is and the deer are still up higher than Mendenhall. There are no fish in the streams right now for the bear to eat.

Mendenhall Glacier

See the Eagle?

Keith Olberman made a statement on CA Prop 8, which I think people need to hear.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Car anyone?

It has a couple of bullet holes in it. I don't think it has run in awhile. Actually, there are 3 cars hiding in the woods.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

one more Mendenhall Picture

This too is from North Douglas Island. It gives a good overall view from 10 miles away.

Mendenhall Glacier from Douglas Island

Here pictures of Mendenhall Glacier from North Douglas Island. Most of the other shots were taken at the Glacier. These shots are from about 10 miles away. The ice field did not shrink this past year. They got so much snow and had such a cold and miserable summer that the ice field did not shrink. It stayed about the same or maybe even grew a little.

Fresh Snow

This picture is from our snow a couple of weeks ago. Fresh snow is always great. A fresh start with a new President is great also. History was made this week!

Time to go to the store!

I guess I need to go to the store to buy food. I went to costco last week and when I looked at what I bought, it was long johns, school pants and instant oatmeal. I ate instant oatmeal for dinner and need to actually buy food.

Mendenhall Glacier

I hope to hike up to Mendenhall Glacier today. I will go up the left side and maybe even get on the ice to take a few pictures.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Herman Glacier

Herman Glacier. I had wanted to get up to the glacier before the snow. I am checking out cross country trails too. I found this to be a good cross country trail.

Herman Glacier, Alaska Politics update

Another Herman Glacier shot with the mountain in the background.

Alaska Politics: Ted Stevens is now a convicted felon and he was down in all polls up to the election by 20 points. It appears that he is in a dead even race - weird. There are even fewer people voting than voted in the primary elections. There are about 10% fewer people that voted in the Presidential election than the primary. Even the historically blue voting areas were red. There is talk of election fraud in Alaska. This might be interesting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Herman Glacier

I got within about 100 yards of the Herman Glacier. Water kept me from getting closer. There is a blue that oomes through the glacial ice when the sun is shining. The color is interesting.
There was raging water coming off the glacier and there was no easy way to get across and I had hiking shoes and not muk boots. By the way, Muk Books are the normal wear in Alaska. They are the rubber mud boots that people wear on farms in the lower 48. I try not to wear them for hiking.

This Herman Glacier trail is a geat bike trail and cross country skiing trail as well.

Herman Glacier

The Herman Glacier is about 20 miles from the Mendenhall Glacier. It is part of the same icefield. Behind the mountain, there is 9000 square miles of ice fields. The ice field itself is over a hundred miles long, I was told. One person said it is 150 miles long. That is quite an ice cube.

Herman Glacier

This is the Herman Glacier. I hiked 4 miles in the woods to see it. (4 Miles out too.)