Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Teenagers Are Horrible People!

I am a teacher as you all know. Everyday I go to work and educate children. In my school there are a lot of kids. People have told me “I could never do what you do.” “I was a teenager once, teenagers are horrible people.” “You couldn’t pay me enough to be a teacher.”

Believe me there are trying days, just like any profession, funny thing about teaching is that in the 10 years I have taught, no two days are ever the same.

But teenagers are horrible people.

Let me tell you about one of these “horrible” people.

My 1 year old daughter has been not well lately. My wife, son and I need to take her to Edmonton tomorrow for a pediatrician appointment. Now, this is not my way of saying pity me, pity us, it is simply to illustrate how horrible teenagers can be. There is a new student in our school, her name is “Susan”. She came to us this year and is in my grade 7 class. I told the students what was going on in so far as to say “I need to take my daughter to Edmonton to see a doctor, please be good for the sub.” “Susan” could obviously see I was a little nervous about what I was taking Quinlan to the doctor about. So, this morning she runs up to me and gives me some presents. “My mom wanted me to give this to you for your daughter and son.” I thought wow a Christmas gift for my kids, cool.

I opened the card and here is the message inside:

Dear Mister Bailey,

I got your daughter this stuff because when my sister was in the hospital it helped her to not be scared and made her feel safe. I hope these things make it a little easier. –“Susan”

PS. I remember what it was like being the sibling of a sick baby so there is something special for Aidan too.

When I read this card aloud in the staff room, I began to tear up, my assistant began to tear up. The history of this story is that Susan’s little sister passed away.

This teenage girl showed compassion and caring the likes of which most people never see. This was her first year in our school, her first year with me and she had the maturity to understand from her own experiences what my 6 year old and 1 year old could be going through.

It is all too easy to label every teenager as bad or horrible. What we as adults need to do once in a while is step back and see that though kids will make mistakes, they are deep down inside, caring and compassionate people. They do understand right from wrong. They can sense nervousness, hurt and pain. They can make you feel really great.

“Susan” made my day and when my son comes home to his RC car and my daughter gets to snuggle her huge stuffed lion, her cuddly pink blanky and other stuff Susan and her family took time to buy for them, I will hug them extra tightly, tell them “Susan”s name, and we will write her and her family a thank you.

Teenagers are wonderful people.

PS – it was hard not to tear up typing this.

Thank you Susan for being a wonderful you.

Mr. Bailey

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Could CLAWR Be Like an Inheritance From a Rich Uncle?

 Today, the City of Cold Lake is excited over the newly ratified agreement on the CLAWR (Cold Lake Air Weapons Range) First off congratulations to the council on getting this done. What has essentially happened, is the County of Lac La Biche has signed over the range to the City of Cold Lake. This will give Cold Lake approximately 12 million dollars in tax revenue in 2012 and up to 20 million by 2016. To put this in perspective, right now 15 million dollars in residential dollars make up the bulk of Cold Lake's budget.

Now everyone is excited, but what this reminds me of is how a long time ago a young man got an inheritance from a rich uncle and how that money was spent.

Now that young man was me, and I was very young when I got the money as an inheritance. I spent the money on a lot of useless stuff. A playstation, the very first one....yes, a television, and other useless bachelor stuff that I no longer possess. The only smart thing I bought with the money was the engagement ring and wedding band for my wife.

My point is not that council will act like kids with money, but far too often, people who come into money do not spend it wisely. They see it as an affirmation of wasteful spending habits. All I want council to see is that we have a lot to fix in the city. Sadly, the bulk of the bill falls not to the corporate tax base, no way. They continue to refurb their hotels and buy out more land to prevent competition. The Tri-City Mall rental signs are still a Medicine Hat phone number. The bulk of the load has always been on the residential tax base. Those of us who live and work and die in this town have been saddled with a crazy debt load.

It is time the City of Cold Lake thanks the residents of this city for keeping it afloat. It is time that they lower the residential tax base so that people can actually AFFORD to live in this city. We pay for a 4 lane highway to the marina, we pay for the Energy Centre TWICE. Once for the version 1.0 and now again for the hockey rinks that should have just been added years ago.

What the city has to fix is glaringly apparent. The water treatment centre which broke down and nearly crippled our city. The numerous lift stations that back up and cause sewage to fill houses and condos. There are other things that need to be addressed I am sure. I have confidence our council will do what is right for our city.

I just want to point out that sometimes money can cause full steam ahead on bad projects. We do not need to develop every piece of land in our city. We are not ever going to be as big as Edmonton, hell I don't think we will ever get to be as big as Lethbridge, Medicine Hat or Red Deer.

Take a page out of Obama's book. Time to start taxing the big rich business people. Stop riding on the little guys're going to break it.

That's just the way I see things I guess.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Senseless Acts of Violence

Disclaimer: Neither my employer nor my occupation has anything to do with this post. This posting is strictly my own thoughts and feelings. Like most disclaimers if you do not want to hear my thoughts, you can click the back button at anytime. Also the alleged murderer in this blog is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

As I posted in my last blog posting, a 19 year old former student of mine named Samantha was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend.

I think it is important for people who knew Samantha, to see that she was a victim of domestic violence. As I said yesterday, this girl was a quiet, caring girl, who, like all teenage girls was just wanting to be loved and cared for.

This "man" took advantage of her sweet, innocent demeanor. He betrayed her trust, her love and her life. 

Details are sketchy and pure speculation runs rampant I have heard some possible details, but due to the graphic nature of the details I have heard, I will not repeat them here. The only details we need are that a beautiful, innocent girl was killed in cold blood.

Some people may be angry at me for putting out the names. I say it is important to attach names to these crimes and even more important that the victims of these heinous acts are brought to the forefront.

I remember teaching Sammie and her twin sister. Sammie was the quiet, shy one. Her sister was the socialite of the two.

Sammie was sweet, innocent and caring. She would volunteer to help with anything. She was a genuine angel.
She was upgrading some courses at the local high school. No doubt she would go on to do great things. I do not know what her end goal was, I just hope it would have been in the service industry helping others. That is what Sammie did best.

Sadly it seems that her trusting nature would hurt her in the end. 

More often then not, when a person dies from domestic violence, there is a prior history. I hope that every person in an abusive relationship can see how it can end in a horrifying way. 

I want to take this moment to reach out to my current and former students. I want to tell you that no matter how old you are, no matter how long it has been since I taught you, if you are EVER EVER in this situation, if you are EVER EVER thinking of hurting yourself, come to me. I am at the school I will do everything in my power to help you through whatever you are going through. I have seen too many students take their own lives and now I have lived to see a student killed by domestic violence. You are not alone. There are people who can and will help you.

Men and women need to know that love shouldn't hurt. 

In Cold Lake you can contact the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre, if you are in a different city or town, seek a shelter or call your local police or RCMP. 

If you know of someone in an abusive relationship, DO NOT turn a blind eye. Help them.

When funeral arrangements are made available for Sammie, I will post them here.

June 17, 2011 an unofficial candlelight gathering will occur at the Brentwood Estates at 9pm.

The Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre motto is "Making a difference, 1 violence-free night at a time"
I just wish we could have helped this young lady avoid 1 violence filled night.

Youth & Dating Abuse
(taken from the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre Webpage)
Being a young person today isn't easy. There is home, school and peer pressures. For some young people, relationships with their parents can be annoying or embarrassing at times, but on the whole the relationship is 'normal'. They feel safe and secure at home, and they know their parents will protect them. But for young people who are abused, family life is much different.
If you're being abused or are exposed to family violence, the most important thing to know is you are not alone. You don't deserve to be abused. Family violence is a serious issue; and some forms of abuse can even be criminal. There is help for you and for anyone else who you feel may be abused. There are also things you can do to protect yourself and others who are affected by family violence.
Dating Abuse
Dating can be fun and exciting, but sometimes your relationship can turn into something you aren't comfortable with. Abuse can happen between people who are dating.
Dating abuse can include:
  • Name-calling, hurtful words and other forms of verbal and emotional abuse;
  • Hitting, punching, kicking and other forms of physical abuse;
  • Telling who you can spend time with or how much time you can spend with other people;
  • Controlling behaviours - deciding what you wear, how you can styler your hair, etc.;
  • Threatening to hurt you, destroying your things, and other intimidation tactics; or
  • Touching you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, not listening when you say 'no' or other forms of sexual abuse.
If you are being abused, help is available. Talk to a family member, close friend, teacher or counsellor you trust. You can also learn more about dating abuse.
Dating Safety Tips
  • Consider going on a date with another couple the first few times you go out with someone. This is a good idea until you get to know the person better.
  • Think of different ways to be safe if you find yourself in a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation. Make a list of the people you trust who you could talk to if your partner abuses you; friends you can ask to help you stay safe; people you could call for a ride home if you are stranded; places you could go to quickly to escape an abusive person.
  • Before you leave on a date, make sure you know the plans for the date. Tell a friend or family member where you will be, what time they can expect you to be home and how they can reach you (ie: cell phone).
  • Let your date know that you are expected to call or tell someone when you get home.
  • If you leave a party with someone you do not know well, make sure you tell a friend you trust about your plans and the name of the person you are with. Ask a friend to call and make sure you arrive home safely.
  • If you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your judgement and reaction time become impaired.

If we can save one person's life, it is worth it.

As of June 17, 2011 - Her boyfriend, Xavier Joseph Gagnon has been listed as a suspect. He is charged with 1st degree murder. Cold Lake Sun Article

RIP Sammie.


The purple ribbon is a symbol of Domestic Violence Awareness

Thursday, June 16, 2011

When disgusting things happen to sweet people.

Let me first off say that I am not writing this as a teacher. I am writing this as a man. I am writing this as a human being. I am writing this as a father of a daughter.

On June 15th a 19 year old former student of mine was murdered. Now as of this very moment, the name has not been officially released, but Cold Lake is not a big city and bad news travels very fast.

This young girl was a twin sister. I often referred to her as "the quiet one." She was sweet, she was kind, she was a generous soul.

It appears that she shared her heart, soul and love with a "man"(I use that term loosely) and he took advantage of it. Now one can only speculate, but it is very possible that an argument took place resulting in the murder of this young girl.

They say the inner circle of hell is reserved for people like this "man" and although he is innocent until proven guilty, if he did this disgustingly heinous crime, I hope there is a nice warm seat reserved for him.

As a father, I hope that my daughter never meets a man like this. My advice to all women in these domestic violence situations is to leave. Do not tell the man you are leaving. Just pack up your things, your family and go away. I know it is very easy to say that and I know that I make it sound oh so easy.

I just hope that if one person, male or female can do that, it may just save their lives.

Go to the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre, a shelter in your hometown,  or Contact your local Police or RCMP if you are in a situation of abuse or know someone in an abusive relationship.

It could just save the life of someone you love.

Rest peacefully Samantha you're not in pain anymore.

Mr. B

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Armchair Everything

Have you ever noticed that the internet has bred a lot of "armchairs"? I mean everywhere I look I see the armchair quarterback, the armchair hockey coach, etc. Lately, I have seen a lot of different armchairs. The armchair physician, lawyer, and teacher.

It seems that people on the internet think that by looking up an article here or there, or perhaps rallying a ravenous horde of facebook friends, suddenly makes you an expert. In the last week, I have seen no less than 5 people on my Facebook claiming to know better than the doctors treating them or their friends and family. Just because you went to a hospital once in your life, or hell you watched a season of ER or House, does not make you an expert in the field of medicine. Diagnosis and treatment does not take 45 minutes to do. There is protocol and procedure that has to be followed and the old adage "the customer is always right," is a fallacy. I never walk into a hospital room as a patient and think "I know more than these guys in here." So why do some people get that attitude? Just relax and wait for the diagnosis, if you were in mortal danger, I am sure you would be told.
     Realize that doctors do not know everything. They make mistakes, they misdiagnose, heck sometimes they never know what was wrong. I stayed in the hospital when I was a teacher in Manyberries, Ab. What I suspected I had was an issue stemming from bad water in North Battleford a few years back. However, after a week in the hospital the doctors never came up with a diagnosis of what I had. They had two possibles, but were never able to nail it down. I never freaked out or got mad and said mean nasty things about the doctor, I knew that they had done the best they could, and I was at least healthy.

So the next time you think you can do a better job than the professional in front of you, remember you had a chance to get a degree in that field.

But heck that's just the world as I see it.


Monday, May 30, 2011

My First 10K Race! How many times can a grown man cry?

Well the culmination of my training occurred this weekend when I took part in the Jugo Juice 10k portion of the Calgary Marathon.  Though I had raced sprints as a high school student, I had never, ever run in a distance event. I have been "training" since February for this race. I had run on my treadmill prior and the first 10k I ran was at one hour four minutes and change. Through my training, my treadmill runs had only gotten down to 58 minutes as my fastest. I then tried running indoors at the Energy Centre track. I ran the 10k in 55 mins and change. I ran outside 3 or so times with my fastest being around the 54 minute mark. My goal at the start of the training was to run 10K in one hour. As I progressed, I registered for the 10K and put as my goal time of 55:00.

The night before the race I went out with some great friends and my family. I ordered prime rib and it was darn good, but I thought, "this can't be good for me."

I had difficulty sleeping that night as my nerves started getting to me. I was very nervous about 2 things.
1) Falling and 2) Not finishing in the time I wanted.

The next morning I wake up at 5:30 AM for the 7:30AM race. I did not have anything to eat during the morning. I do not like to run on a full stomach, and I was not about to pay 10 bucks for Westin Oatmeal. When we all got to the race area, I was in shock. I had never seen so many people in one spot getting ready for one race. Early numbers put the total people running the 10K at 2267. The course record holder had run this 10K in 30:09 last year. Put this in persepective...I run 5k at about 25 mins at this time. He is done when I am halfway. Funny enough is last name is Kangogo and man Kan he GO GO! He broke his record this year by running a 30:07.

I knew I had 0 chance of "winning" this race but I said to myself I was going to run my race and make everyone I knew proud of me.

Now I learned a lot in this very first race. #1 - Start at the start line. Even if you know you have no chance of winning, start at the start line. I was about 1 minute behind the start line. With over 2000 people, it is bound to happen. Final race placings are set by gun time. This means when the horn goes, your time starts, if you are a minute back of the startline, you have to try to make that minute up somewhere. I will elaborate later on this.

#2 - Run your race. When you are racing people, there are people who will finish in 30 mins and people who will finish in 1 hour 30 mins or more. It becomes very easy and seductive to run faster that you are able to. I hate to be a gimmick guy, but I never trusted my ipod to be accurate. I bought the Garmin Forerunner 405. It beeps every KM and tells me my pace time. With a built in gps it is fricken sweet. The watch really made me stay within myself by knowing my splits. Some people will say have a stopwatch, but the race markers stopped at 3km and didn't start up again till the 7th Km.

#3 Be aggressive. I was not nearly aggressive enough on the finish. I later saw people finishing the half marathon and marathon by almost plowing people down in the final 200m sprint to the finish. I had just maintained my pace. Mistake that cost me positions, and made me angry with myself.

#4 You become emotional. I left my family prior to the start. I was alone with my thoughts and with what I was about to do. Little did I know that my wonderful family, and my friends were walking to the Starbucks nearby about 1KM into the race waiting for me. The horn sounded, and I took off. At around the 1Km mark, I hear "I love you so much Ryan and Go DADDY!" I turn my head and I see my wife, son and daughter on the corner cheering for me. I was a little taken back. I began to tear up, but was able to channel that emotion into positive adrenal energy. As I was running I kept replaying that moment over and over in my mind. Sometimes I would get misty, other times I used it to push myself further. On the last Km, as I came up the final hill towards the final stretch I began to get goosebumps from the cheering crowd. I knew they weren't cheering for me, but they were cheering for everyone. Again out of the noise, I heard " Run Ryan you can do it, I love you." I picked up my pace another shot of adrenaline. I crossed the finish line. I was not really tired from the run, but I did begin to cry. A few things went through my mind. 1) I had run and finished a 10k race. 2) This was a culmination of losing over 50 pounds since Feb 2011 and over 103 pounds since 2004. I had beaten some pretty big obstacles to get to this point. 3) I thought of my mom, she has been gone since 1996, and on that race I was running for her. I had raised money for cancer and this was a tribute to my mom. 4) I ran this for my wife. She is so very amazing and I wanted to make her proud. 5) I ran this for my children. One thing was Aidan wanted me to win him a medal (we all got one for finishing...shhh) and two I wanted my children to see their dad healthy and active.

One last thing I learned is no one is a loser in this. Sure there are winners. They finish first, but everyone who runs the race wins. Everyone has their reason for running. In that, everyone who ran that day was a winner to me. So what place did I win? Well its not as simple as crossing the finish. There is the gun time placing. I was 346th out of all 2267 people who ran. From 12 year olds, to 60 yr olds+, men and women,  that was my position. (I believe the 4th place finisher was in the 55 - 59 yr range.) Out of all the men aged 35 - 39, I placed 39th out of 117. Out of all the males who ran, I finished 255th out of 888. So did I win, sure I finished, I beat my former best time which was 55:17. My final gun time was 52:28 which means when the gun went off, it took my bib 52:29 secs to cross. However my NET running time, which is the time when I crossed the start line, to the time I crossed the finish was 51:28. SO in my mind I ran the race in 51:28 secs and thus my lesson learned about starting at the start when the gun goes off. (Would have moved me up a few places)

My next race will likely be a 5K in Cold Lake, with a 10K or half-marathon in Edmonton in August and a possible 10K run in Medicine Hat in September.

The running bug has bit me, and just think a few short months ago I thought running was boring!

That's the world as I see it.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Twits and Ignorance on the Internet

Very rarely have I ever been driven to the type of anger where I stay awake till 2:00 am on a work night, but last night was one of those nights.

For those of you in Canada and really the world, Slave Lake, AB Canada had a huge fire last night that engulfed the entire town. Over 7000 people had to be evacuated from their houses. In the end, the town hall, police fire and radio stations, the high school and many businesses along with 50% of the homes in Slave Lake went up in flames. Truly one of the worst natural disasters I have ever wittnessed in my province. Thinking about my small family and my home I could not imagine anything this bad happening to me.

The first thing I thought of was I need to go on twitter. The rationale was that since mainstream media were unable or unwilling to cut from Desperate Housewives, Survivor and other trivial programming to bring me an update on people in my province in dire need, I would go to a place where I could get the information I wanted. Twitter.

I should have known that I would find the regular mix of idiots on there, but I thought that in a moment of crisis, people would be sympathetic to the plight of the people of Slave Lake. Most people sent out well wishes, condolences and offers of support to those in need. There were however a select group of people who I will call "Twits". These are the people who have nothing better to do on twitter than to belittle people hurting, or make every issue their own.

Case in point. I cannot even count how many people of African-American descent came to twitter saying that Slave Lake deserved to burn down because of the name. Yes in 2011 people who live in a town deserve to have their homes burned down because of the name having the word slave. The sheer ignorance of people astounded me and led me to tweet "When New Orleans was underwater, Canada sent aide. When Slave Lake burns, USA sends morons to tweet jokes."

Now I clearly painted 312 million people with one brush. Ya that's not a good thing to do, but I was just so darn angry at the fact people would turn a natural disaster into their own personal vendetta with "the man".

Look, we are all sorry slavery occurred, and that many people's families were put through that kind of pain. However, Slave Lake, AB got its name from a tribe of first nations people. Many of the ignorant claimed Slave Lake was too hard to find on google. Yet typing in Slave Lake Wikipedia gets me a link to,_Alberta and further clicking on

I know it takes oh about 5 seconds to find what the town really is about. Of course, the ignorant have to flock to twitter to say how upset they are that there is a city with the word slave in it.  Good for the people who tried very hard to educate those on how the town got it's name. I lost patience and just started spamming the haters with "you're a moron".

So now where do we go from here? I am currently running a collection for cash at my school. I will get the secretary to cut a cheque on Thursday and take it to a local radio station on Friday. I put on my Facebook page and Twitter feed that I challenge the Big Oil companies in Alberta to cast aside some of the millions or billions they make in profits to help rebuild the town of Slave Lake. Ten grand won't cut it. This is going to cost millions of dollars.

To quote a woman on twitter last night  "Google before you tweet is the new think before you speak" however last night I wish most of the ignorant would have thought before they opened their traps to hurt people who don't deserve that treatment.

To those of you from Slave Lake, we are all here to help you.

That's the world as I see it.