Caveat: Tree #137

Arthur and I went out in the boat today. Still fishless, though.

The tide was very low in the morning. I took this picture of a tree reflected in the water with a fat starfish under the water in the shade of the dock.


Here is the low tide – you could actually step from the beach to the dock.


Here is a sea otter I saw.


[daily log: walking, 1.5km]

Caveat: Tree #133

I drove to Hollis this morning, to drop Arthur at the ferry for a day trip into Ketchikan, because he is supposed to get MRI and CT scans. I told him to watch out for those high-energy photons.

I stopped by the road on the way back to Craig, and took this picture of a tree (or rather, it’s the snag that’s so prominent, here).


I also made this unexpected anachronism sighting by the road near Hollis.


I drove back to Craig, hung out at home (I didn’t get called to substitute, today), then drove back to Hollis in the evening to get Arthur back off the ferry.

[daily log: walking, 1km; driving, 130km]

Caveat: Tree #131

Arthur and I went out fishing this morning, fishlessly, and when we got back well after lunch, I was feeling rather “under the weather.”

I have almost never experienced anything like seasickness in my life, but the seas were somewhat heavy as we reentered Port Saint Nicholas, and I think that there is a kind of exhaustingness in riding the boat up and down across the water. I was driving, too, which requires some degree of intense focus.

So I took no walk in the afternoon, and I took no picture of any tree.

Here is a tree from my archives. I saw this tree ten years ago this month, during a visit to 장수 (Jangsu), the village in South Korea’s Jeollabuk province that is my friend Curt’s hometown.


If I recall correctly, that Buddhist temple is the one that Curt’s father was a deacon for (or whatever is the Buddhist equivalent of a deacon – in any event, a lay administrator).

[daily log: walking, 1km]

Caveat: Chowder Tradition

Since coming back from Australia I’ve developed a little mini-tradition of making Chilean style chupe de pescado (spicy fish chowder) every Sunday. I use the less perfect pieces of frozen salmon Arthur has. Partly, it’s one of the few dishes that I cook well that he seems to consider “acceptable.”


I love to make curries, but Arthur doesn’t like those, and he considers mole poblano to be a sacrilege against chocolate. I haven’t tried making borshch, but when I described it to him he was not at all impressed by the concept. I made fried rice once, but he didn’t seem to like it much either. So these things I’d have to make on my own without hope of patronage. That, of course, lowers the incentive to make them.

Caveat: Tree #129

Here is a tree from the archives. I took this picture of a tree at the back entrance (parking garage entrance) of the Urimbobo apartment building, where I lived for 7 out of the 11 years I lived in Korea. So I knew the tree well, and no doubt walked past it hundreds if not thousands of times – I would pass it anytime I left my apartment building to go anywhere except to work, as all the shopping and the closest subway station were out the back entrance.


At the time I took the picture, I was noticing the Buddhist icon (the swastika) on the advertising – realizing I had a Buddhist fortune-teller in my building with me.

I didn’t take a picture of a tree today because I was working on my well-head-shed-thingy, and got really tired out doing that.


[daily log: digging, a lot]

Caveat: Tree #128

Arthur and I went out in the boat, past Baker Island. That’s farther than I’ve ever gone with Arthur in his boat before. I think he was hoping to find some early Coho Salmon. But no fish.

I saw this tree, on an island.


At Siketi Sound, if you look southwest, you see the open ocean. There were broad, slow, large swells rolling in from the sea.


[daily log: walking, 1.5km]

Caveat: Tree #126

Here is a tree from the archives.


I didn’t walk or take pictures of trees because I was digging a hole.


The hole will accommodate a pipe off the new well-head, when the well-drilling guys return to put in the pump.

The hole is difficult to dig because there are quite large rocks embedded in the gravel, which Richard put those rocks there when he was building the driveway / parking pad, where the new well is located.

[daily log: digging rocks, 1m down]

Caveat: Docked or Undocked

Arthur and I went out on the boat, seeking fish. We met no fish.

But we met this barge going up the inlet.


It turned out the barge was heading to our slightly antisocial neighbor’s house, where he has been hoping to install a dock. We knew at least this much, because we received a notification from the Army Corps of Engineers about the intention to do so, which is, I guess, a legal requirement that neighbors of such projects be notified.

They spent the day trying to pound metal poles into the beach with giant hydraulic hammers.


And then the barge guys left, and the neighbor remained dockless. We didn’t actually talk to the neighbor (because of aforementioned antisociality), but Arthur speculated that his beach was too rocky, and that the effort to install a dock had failed.

I felt alarm and a substantial empathy. It can’t possibly have been cheap for the neighbor to hire the barge people to come out and work at his beach. Did it really fail? Wouldn’t the neighbor feel anger and resentment over this failure – looking over Arthur, with his pleasant dock just a hundred meters down the shore…. did this story really have this ending?

I guess we will find out more, later. But I feel badly.

Caveat: Tree #121

I worked at the school library again today. The work is a little bit dull, as there is some down time between seeing students. It’s more just “holding down the fort.”

So I didn’t take a tree picture today. I should have and could have, in the parking lot at the school, but didn’t.

I’ll present another tree from my archives. This tree (and the ones all in a row behind it) is from my daily walking commute to the Karma school in Goyang City, South Korea. The street is 강선로 (Gangseon-ro), in front of 강선초등학교 (Gangseon Elementary School), taken February, 2013, a few blocks north of where my apartment was at that time.


[daily log: walking, 2.5km]

Caveat: The Shortcomings

I worked a second day today as a substitute at Craig Elementary School.

Today, I was a librarian.


I even figured out how to check-in and check-out books, using their computer…. Even though the computer was a Mac, which I normally wouldn’t touch for questions of philosophical purity.

I had a bit of a breakthrough realization about this new work context: in terms of enrollment, Craig Elementary is actually smaller than Karma Academy (where I was teaching in Korea). They are not strictly comparable, of course – the latter being a private specialty school, not a public school. But in terms of the number of kids that I actually have to know, it’s a pertinent observation.

Being a substitute librarian is easier than the kindergarten gig I had on Monday. Well… it’s more laid back, anyway. Still, I got to see the kindergarteners again. And one of the kids said a very “Craig, Alaska” thing as part of a general review of my job qualifications: “You’re not bad as a substitute. You’re funny. But your face-hair is too short.”

That comment needs some explanation. I noticed that most men in Craig have beards. That’s one reason I made a passing effort at letting one grow on my face last fall and over Christmas. More notably, all the male teachers at Craig Elementary appear to have beards. So the child was just pointing out the obvious: though I might seem qualified to be a substitute teacher, I clearly had obvious shortcomings, because really I didn’t look quite right.

Caveat: Real Life Trolley Problems

“Trolley problems” are philosophical conundrums dealing with complicated ethical decisions.

But today Arthur and I had a real-life trolley problem. We were going to launch the boat. The boat launches on a little “trolley” that runs out some rails into the water from the boatshed. But there was some problem with the trolley. A piece broke off: “Snap!” and the trolley lurched 10 inches downhill. It was a bit scary.

Here is the broken piece.


It turned out one of the chocks that is wedged under the trolley wheels to ensure it stays in place when it’s parked in the boatshed hadn’t been pulled out. So the trolley tried to go over the chock and the guide-piece snapped off.

I see this as the type of hazard that arises due to Arthur’s continued refusal to write down any of the numerous procedural checklists he’s long been accustomed to carrying in his head. I try to write down these checklists based on observation and continued questioning in the vein of “what are you doing now?” … but these lists are still going to have holes in them – because I don’t have any past experience with so many of the things Arthur does.

A smaller example: it’s like the the struggle I have every time I watch Arthur trying to tie a knot in string or rope – I am not a knot person, I have always been poor with knots and I have always deferred to others when knots needed to be tied. Arthur, on the other hand, has always been very good at knots. But now, with his processing deficits (especially 3-D processing deficits), he very visibly struggles with tying knots that in his past were essentially so easy as to not require conscious thought. He will stand and study the rope in question, and simply not be able to know what to do with it. It’s painful, but it’s doubly painful because I have zero idea what his objective is – what kind of knot is he hoping to tie with his rope? I don’t have a clue.

Likewise with his checklists. And he rarely makes any effort to verbalize them. So I’m stranded, unsure what he’s trying to do and unsure how to help. Supposedly, I’m a “safety officer,” but without a program as to what’s next, it’s hard to know what I need to watch out for.

Caveat: Sub Sub

I went to work today.

It was the first time since I quit working at Karma last July that I’ve gone to work, or gone into a classroom.

The kindergarten teacher at Craig Elementary was sick. And it seemed like the normal person who does substitute teaching was also sick. She came and gave a bit of orientation, the first hour or so, and then left. And there was a teacher’s aide, who was essentially promoted to be the main teacher, and more or less knew what was going on. And I was the temporary teacher’s aide, along with some other helpers.

Spending 6 hours with kindergarteners is quite a bit of work. And I didn’t really know my way around the school – so it was orientation by fire. Typical in Korea, perhaps less typical in the US, but this is a small town, a small district… so I had actually somewhat assumed this is how it would go.

It was fun. I hope I made a good impression. Actually I feel confident I did fine with the kids – but they’re not the constituency I need to impress, rather, the other teachers. We shall see. I did manage at least to have learned the kids’ names by the end of the day. I felt positive about that. And I solved a three way power struggle between three girls who were fighting over a doll. I think the other teacher was somewhat surprised at my success, there – she had shrugged and said it seemed to be an unsolvable situation and was just intent on keeping them separate.


Caveat: Tree #114

I took a walk straight up the hillside (rather than along the road one way or the other). One walks much less distance – I prefer to call it “tromping” rather than walking. But it’s exhausting – pushing through undergrowth, climbing over giant fallen logs, squanching through muskeg and streams. Here’s a tree I saw.


[daily log: walking, 2km]

Caveat: Fun Trivia Fact

Here’s a surprising trivia fact I learned today:

My uncle Arthur still has a pilot’s license. Apparently this was considered somewhat disturbing by his GP in Juneau whom he saw this morning. Arthur’s justification is that a pilot’s license is meaningless if a doctor doesn’t sign off on the annual physical exam. Which is a valid point – no doctor would do that, given his incident from last summer. But it does seem odd. The State of Alaska never moved to suspend his driving privileges, either. So it’s just that the bureaucracy isn’t paying attention, I suppose. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.