Well, made it home safe and sound. What a great trip to Alaska. The people in the Mat-Su and Anchorage school districts were awsome. So helpful, prepared and ready to give their kids the best they could. Thanks to all. The kids were so focused on the string activities. I am sure they will be for a long time. Thanks for lodging, food and company.
I had such a great time that I am returning in March. The week of March 16th I will be in the Anchorage area and the week of the 23rd I will be in the Mat-Su area. I will be available for school and church visits during the day and also for visits in the evening.
I will also be looking for someone to stay with at those two places. If you want to learn strings in a quiet home setting, let me know.
This last trip, 4 schools had me do a family evening program as well as the daytime visit. I promoted reading, doing activities together and storytelling. You might have a friend at another school that would be interested in a visit.
I have been spending a very quiet day. At 7:30 went to a spriritual gathering then went out for a leasurely breakfast. Then I was going to drive down Turnigan Sound to Girdwood and Portage but part way down the weather was so windy and snowy that I decided to turn around and come back.
I went the the Alaska Federation of Natives Gathering at the new convention center. As well as meetings, schoool presentations, etc. they had the exhibit hall open for people to display their crafts. What a great time looking at all the different things made, some in the old tradition and some for the modern world.
Came back to the hotel and got all my things packed. I thought I was leaving at 12:25 AM Sunday but my flight has been changed to leaving at 9:25 in the morning. I get to have a good night’s sleep before traveling. I will get home about 2:00 AM.
I am going out to eat with a good friend here, Charlotte Pendelton and her neighbors. I was at Charlotte’s school about 13 years ago. Since then she has retired from the school system and is working at the Public Library. We try to get together each time I come up here. She has been a long time supporter of my mission work and I appreciate her heart for the children.
Every morning I have to start the car and brush the snow off. Then let it warm up to melt the windshield. I need to leave extra time in case traffic is backed up. Things I don’t have to do in Oklahoma when I pull out of my garage.
What a fun day at Chugiak Elementary. I got there early enough to attend the faculty meeting and the principal, Susan Schmidt gave me a few minutes to explain the educational benefits of the string games. She runs a fun meeting.
Susan Koike, the librarian had everything ready with lots of space in the library to work. I had met her in Fairbanks last year at the Library Convention and we had some shared memories of the time. Her aid, Sunny Robinson was also ready to do anything that needed to be done to make things move smoothly, and they did.
Mary Lum from Homestead came over to see if I had any more strings. She had sold her thousand and needed more. I gave her 500 more which gave Susan the idea that she would also need that many more. I am going home with some empty cardboard boxes in my luggage to prevent it from getting smashed. They will like how light it is.
I was going to stay with my friend Jim Kaiser in Girdwood but he is in Washington, testifying in the Ted Stephens trial about a window he made for him. I can’t wait to hear the details. I don’t even know which side he was testifying for. More will be revealed.
I am in Anchorage decompressing from a grueling two weeks…but I loved every minute of it. I am planning on returning in March to do some of the other schools that I have not done yet. I have a list of people who want me here. If you want on the list, let me know.
I was welcomed to Homestead Elementary with a big banner up over the main entrance. Made by the 6th grade it was augmented with other signs in the school…one where my name was spelled in string. They were pumped.
Barbara Nagengast, the principal had had me in her earlier school and was happy that I was coming. Mary Lum, the librarian had muffins and fresh coffee ready for me. What a reception. It was a full schedule. Mary had sent a schedule home with the students so many parents came in to see the program with their kids.
They also bought books and videos while they were there. That helps to keep my prices low to the schools. I did not send or bring enough books with me so we are sending them up by USPS.
Shaw and Sherrod both contacted me for more things. We will have to ship them up also.
I made it up the driveway tonight. I went past, turned around and was aimed at a better angle. Then I prayed and just drove up. Rental cars don’t have studs…at least the cheap ones don’t.
Shawn Gilland, a teacher at Colony Middle School invited me to his church for a program. He checked with Pastors Tori and Robert Hicks and they decided to have a family night on this Wednesday. We had a nice intimate group of all ages. First we had soft tacos and a great Southwest salad. Then I had time to talk about String Ministries, my travels, teach some figures and just have a great time together.
Shawn had also invited me to his home for a dinner scheduled for last night but I mixed up my schedule and was booked for that night. I really missed it. Shawn had acquired meat for moose burgers and a moose roast and his kids said the moose burgers were great. Thanks for the invite Shawn.
It had been snowing again and when I got home I could not get up the hill into the driveway. I made it up part way and thought maybe I could leave the car there but while I was in the house asking if that would work, the car slid back down into the road. Thank Heaven it did now go in the ditch. After some trying and some Kitty Litter, we got it to the side of the road for the night. In the morning I was able to pull out and get on my way safely.
Goose Bay is a primary school and I worked with the K, 1 and 2 grades. They are a challenge because they don’t have the dexterity to do some figures. They are also more fragile in temperament so I need to be aware of that.
Abby Kellner-Rode had things running smoothly. I have worked with her a couple of times before in the last 10 or so years. During the story with the kids I was comparing it to a Caldecott winner “A Story, A Story” that got a gold medal. I commented that I thought I should get one too and Mrs Reavis, one of the teachers, went back to her room and brought me a plastic one from the Special Olympics. I will cherish it for a long time.
I spent the day at Knik with some great kids. The library was full of book fair things so I was in the Gym. They had a wonderful sound system so I used the Garth Brooks head mike to help reach the kids. We had fairly big groups of third through fifth graders.
Carrie Day, the librarian brought in Moose Meatloaf and home grown carrots and beets. What a great lunch.
We had an evening program to open the book fair. Ann Dixon, author and librarian from Willow was down, Raven, another authos was there and they had a couple other literacy events going on. I had time to give a program of strings, storytelling and philosophy. They also served free hot dogs and the trimmings.
There are going to be tired kids tonight. Tomorrow I am at Goose Bay, the primary school on the same campus so some of the kids got a preview of things to come.
On another note, my visa for Pakistan came in today. I am scheduled to go there over Thanksgiving…2 and a half weeks. I will be in the Punjab region. I will be back in early December.
I was at Sherrod school last year and the staff wanted me to return this year. They said that there were many new students and the students had so much fun last year that they wanted it to continue.
Debbie Melton, the librarian has lots of neat stuff in the library and had to move a lot of it to make room for the Book Fair. Then she had to make room for me to perform in the library also. She also runs a school store with lots of goodies including warm pretzels with cheese sauce. What a busy lady.
Because of scheduling for the new semester and new reading groups we didn’t start till late in the morning. That meant that we had to have 4 and 5 classes together. No my favorite situation but we made it workable. Kids were learning new things and remembering things from before. What a lot of excitement.
I am spending a few days with Mark and Mary Kay Hoffman at their home. Mark is principal at Sherrod and a very fine cook. Last night we had walnut halibut on the grill, almond green beans and garlic potatoes. What a tough life.
Tonight Mark fixed steak, nice and rare and Alaska king crab with melted butter, a garden salad with rasberry vinigeriate dressing and baked potato. We had such a good time visiting about family and String Ministry, org. What a great couple. Did I tell you that they grew the carrots and tomatoes for the salad?
I was at the Public Library this afternoon. They open once a month for a speaker brought in by the Friends of the Library. I met Chris Walker at Midnight Sun School where she teaches. She said she would see me at the Library. She really worked to get everything set up and out.
Her husband was roped in for “other duties as assigned”. They had a table for coffee and tea and a table of snacks, healthy and the other kind. What a nice time. It was a multi age group with a couple of sets of grandparents up from “outside”. We involved everybody in the program.
Janet Kincaid is also a Friend of the Library and has the Colony Inn in Palmer. As a service she let me stay there with a comped room for a special deal at the library. What a nice thing to do.
The Friends do a lot for that library, as in many other places. Thanks to volunteers.
I did two programs at the Church on the Rock this Sunday morning, 9 and 10:45. About 45 kids the first program and 75 the second. They were elementary age with many Jr High students in there to “help”.
While there a woman that I had gone to Russia with on a mission team came up to me and we visited for just a minute. I was not able to see her later. So many people have touched my life. I just can’t keep track of them all.