The thoughts of a writer.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Sometimes things don’t work out the way we thought they would. Actually, I’ve found that happens a lot. It can be really sad or frustrating for awhile, but with each one of these events, there are new experiences.

Perhaps the timing was an issue, or maybe it was a clash of priorities. If I gave my best, I can take comfort in the realization that it was beyond my control. Maybe it will come around again or maybe not. That can’t be my primary focus. There are nearly always positives that come along with the negatives. Things that were locked out of reach in one scenario may suddenly become possible again.

Two things are important in life. One is love, and the other is trying to do the right thing. We can’t always be successful at this all the time, but it is important to try. Other people and other forces can sometimes get in the way. Then we have to look for that positive side and move ahead into the next grand experience.

Today I am a little sad, greatly relieved and hopefully-optimistic.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Eagle has Landed

Funny... since I embraced the nickname of "Bald Eagle," that a couple of the detention kids gave me, I haven't heard them use it much! I wonder why???

Here is a picture of me with my eagle statue, thanks to my coworker Kim for being thoughtful enough to bring it in.

Friday, January 20, 2006


I still think I need to teach a comedy class at the school. The kids think they're funny, but they aren't. Their timing is all wrong. I had to tell one that he couldn't talk in detention. Then I had to tell him he couldn't sing. Finally I had to tell him he couldn't drum. He was wearing a suit for some reason, and he asked me if it was against the rules to look good, because he might have to leave. I told him he wouldn't have to worry about that! insert cymbal crash! (That’s good timing!) Then he sneered at me. Eventually, I kicked him out of detention to the office because he didn't know how to shut-up.

"The Bald Eagle"

Some of the regular trouble-makers at the Jr. High where I work, have come up with the (super creative) name for me, "Bald Eagle."

It is actually rather appropriate (though I'm sure they meant to be disrespectful) because as a volunteer park ranger in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, much of my reporting to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is about birds of prey, and Bald Eagles in particular.

I am considering hanging a poster of a Bald Eagle in the detention room where I work. For now, I have printed the eagle picture from my November archives, and put it on the bulletin board behind me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Yesterday was Magic

Yesterday I had the day off from work. When my original plans crashed, I got to do one of my favorite things. I went into the woods to do my park ranger job. I hiked the west end of Wilkie, which is open in the winter. This section of the wildlife refuge is closed March through August, as it is home to a large colony of Great Blue Herons and egrets. Now, as the leaves are gone from the trees, it is quite impressive to see the hundreds of nests.

I think since this area is closed for so much of the year, it is wilder than some other places. I saw four Red-Tailed Hawks (who were very vocal) before I walked up on an opossum. Shortly after that, I heard the metallic sound of Bald Eagles, and I saw two of them in the trees close by.

I headed through the woods, avoiding the trail as much as possible. I found a bird-kill site. The black feathers with white spots made me think that perhaps it was a woodpecker that met its demise. A short time later, I found a deer carcass. It was interesting since bow hunting is over and there was no arrow. Also noteworthy was the condition. The legs, some hide and hair was intact, but the jaw and skull were in separate locations and picked clean. In fact, the bulk of the body was picked clean by scavengers as the spine and ribs were clearly visible.

I also found what appeared to be River Otter tracks and slides. The beavers had been busy in the backwater creating ponds with waterfalls cascading over their dams.

Later, I found four more Bald Eagles. Two had adult colors and two still had the dark plumage of juveniles. It was probably another successful season and I was looking at the parents and their young from the last summer.

Finally it was time to hike back out. It was a magical way to spend my afternoon.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I Knew It!

I saw a big full moon when I was driving in to work this morning! This confirms my suspicions about (Moron Week) yesterday's post.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Full Moon?

The (Jr. High) detention room where I work has been extremely busy lately. I haven’t encountered such quantities before. Mostly, it is kids who are completely without respect for anyone. An adult (who’s supposed to be in charge) like myself, can give a directive and the answer is openly defiant. They prefer to refuse and escalate the situation rather than comply. I don’t accept that behavior and will move to the next appropriate level.

Having some experience working with those who have served time behind bars, I can’t really see any good things for these kids unless they wakeup at some point. This week’s list of offenses is astounding, and even the school police liaison officer has been involved.

When I went to public school, teachers and administration regularly hit students. While I’m not in favor of such things in general, I wonder if the tide has turned too much. These kids know that no one is allowed to lay a hand on them. As a result, they have no healthy respect for either authority, or for someone who could actually cause them bodily harm. This isn’t really a good scenario, because I know only too well (after working in one of the worst places in Minneapolis), that eventually they will meet someone of like mind and somebody will be maimed or killed.

Some of these kids have bought into the glorification of street culture. They are trying to be little “gangstas.” It is pretty sad to see actually –since I know where they are heading if they don’t straighten up.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pike Fishing

Even though there is ice on most of the lakes in Minnesota right now, I have been daydreaming about fishing for Pike in warmer weather.

That's me with a nice Pike from The summer before last.

Usually, out of the guys in the band, Dave catches more fish and since he fishes more, it's probably the way it should be.

But last summer, on one particular excursion, Pete caught the 36 inch, 11 pound Pike. I got nothing that day, and Dave is over on the right holding up... a minnow? No, I guess it's a small Pike that is being dwarfed by "Pete's giant wanker fish."

My appologies to all the "Walleye or nothing" snobs out there, but Pike fight hard and they taste good.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Detention Supervisor Account

Kid's Name is in Detention all day today and Wednesday. As near as I can tell, he finished all of his outstanding detentions and must have started missing me, so he tackled some other kid in the hallway to get an in-school-suspension just to hang out with me! Last Friday he got kicked out of detention for fighting over "his seat." Kid's Name is a regular, and very attached to a particular seat in the room. He is in a different seat right now, expanding his horizons...

I have also trained Kid's Name to enter and leave my room without swinging on the door frame. I did this by telling him I would give him an (unprecedented) five (5) detentions if he ever swung on the door frame again. I asked him if he could do it and he said he didn't think so. I reached back and got a detention form and asked him if I should put his name on it now. When the bell rang, he ended up leaving like a normal person!

It's these little victories...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Small Picture View

I am continually amazed at how everything seems to run counterproductive to everything else. I work at a school, and I also have a close friend who is constantly driving her children to and from sporting activities and school functions.

When I was a kid, we hopped on a school bus and were transported to the next school for sporting events. Our parents did not need to drive us or attend each outing. This undoubtedly saved time and fuel. Now, due to budget cuts, schools have shifted the burden onto parents who must drive to faraway places with great frequency. Though the global idea is supposed to be to save fuel, all of these mini-vans must be using considerably more gas than the single bus was. Still, the school saves and taxes don’t go up –though we use more gas and parents spend more money.

At the school I work at, I noticed that everything at lunch is throwaway. Nothing is recycled. The trays are Styrofoam and the “sporks” are plastic. All are thrown away. Each of the three lunches at this one school produces 5 or 6 garbage cans full of trash. That is 15 to 18 cans daily just for lunch! Aren’t we supposed to be teaching kids to recycle?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


One of my coworkers was gruesomely murdered last Friday. Since I work at a school, the students are also upset. The news media has been relentless in describing the details of the horrible death in an attempt to outdo all the other media outlets with gory details. This isn't how we wanted to remember our coworker. It is a very sad story, and all of us are upset by this and the news coverage.