Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sweet Home Chicago

We made it!


Good to be home. We were lucky to fly in, with the weather in Chicago delaying flights, especially in O'Hare. Everything was fine. We got in to Midway at 1:15 am, picked up our rental mini-van, and drove out to my folks' house.

We made good time driving at night. I would hate to make that trip during the day with all the construction and traffic going on.

We made it just in time to see my mom, before she went to work. I wish I had my camera out to take pictures of her hugging the kids with her toothbrush hanging out of her mouth! She gets home from work today about noon and has taken the next two days off.

Then we are all set to move in down in Normal this weekend! See, we will be registered Normal citizens!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Homeward Bound

Finally, we take off for Illinois tonight. We are so excited. We'll be landing at Midway about 1 am, picking up our mini-van rental, and then hightailing it out to Somonauk.

We can't wait to see the family. We had a wonderful month here in the Seattle/Bremerton area. Time to get moving. Our apartment in Normal is ready to move into this weekend.

Monday, June 25, 2007


And I had to save this one--teenagers in Nome boxing on the streets.

Das Rad (The Rocks)

This is by far one of the best animated shorts I have ever seen. The idea is phenomenal and how the animators pull it off is brilliant. It is such a great concept and proves the point on how some stories must be told through animation.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Barge Trouble

Apparently, that wasn't our barge yesterday.

Seems that the 7001 just got there and not the 7002. Ugh. So our car is still not on the barge. It is a good thing we were not waiting on this car to drive cross country. It would be fun telling my mother-in-law, "Yeah, we need to stay another month..." That would be delightful.

So Tuesday night we get on a plane finally for Illinois. Amy found us an apartment to move into on the first of July in Normal, Illinois. Normalcy in Normal will be wonderful. School starts in Varna on August 16th for teachers.

Everything is in place. Except the car.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Girl's legs severed on Superman ride
The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. --A teenage girl's legs were severed above the ankle while on a thrill ride at a popular amusement park on Thursday, park officials said.

The accident happened around 4:45 p.m. on the Superman Tower of Power at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, said Six Flags spokeswoman Wendy Goldberg.

It is unclear at what point during the ride the girl, 13, was injured, Goldberg said. She was taken to a hospital, but there was no immediate word on her condition.

The ride lifts passengers 177 feet straight up, then drops 154 feet, reaching a speed of 54 mph, according to the park's Web site.

The ride has been shut down indefinitely while park officials investigate what caused the accident. The rest of the park remained open.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chuck E. Cheese

We had the greatest time today in Tacoma's Chuck E. Cheese. Amy signed up for this internet token promotion that gave us 200 tokens for only $20. It was great to not be stingy with the tokens. Madison rode all those little rides. Plenty of ticket games but whatever happened to all the video games? It was a ton of fun.

Other than that, I have really been doing a ton of nothing. I have spent quite a bit of time (and money) at Silverdale's Barnes & Noble.

Looking forward to Illinois next week. Our car is on the barge in Nome tomorrow so Amy and I will be making another trip out to Seattle and then a nice little cross-country drive!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Airport

April 14, 2007
11 pm Alaska Standard Time

The Muzak version of "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman pipes over the loudspeaker as I plop down with an audible whoof in a chair at Gate N1.

I'm in the North Terminal of the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, Alaska. It's now 11 pm and I notice it is a lot darker here already than it would be in Nome right now. There is a large, wide-antlered moose head hanging above the door. It stares at me and I swear it is saying something along the lines of They'd never do this in the Lower 48.

I'm on my way to a second job interview in Varna, Illinois. It will be my first time back in the Lower 48 since we left for Nome in August 2005, and my first time back to Illinois since...well, I don't know when it was but it was my sister Sarah's wedding. I'm coming home.

Knock on wood, but one way or another, my family and I are moving back to Illinois this summer. This job would just help to solidify the exact area to move to, just half an hour north or Peoria. Plus, I like the way this districct talked during the phone interview. Literature and a real, established curriculum highlight the personable staff that talked with me. I want this job.

I enjoyed Nome and my position there. The curriculum director was actually begging me to sign my new contract. But another year in Nome would have made it three years in Alaska. Three years would turn into twenty, just like that. A teacher needs only seven years to be vested in the retirement program and, at 34 years old now, I couldn't throw away that time. After vesting, I would have stayed, year after year, just to build my retirement base. I've seen it happen to other teachers. I talk to teachers and sense the feeling of being trapped, much like the eyes of that moose still staring at me.

I've done it though. I've taught in rural Alaska and lived with the locals for almost two years. This was not some vacation or cruise where you come in for the Iditarod and leave. I've lived through the cycling of the seasons, much like Thoreau at Walden Pond.

However, I'm an English teacher and there's not a single bookstore to wander through. There are no drive-thru fast food joints. There are no roads to take us to different towns. I didn't grow up here, so I miss these things from the Lower 48.

Now I think the moose is telling me something else. Good luck, he seems to whisper. Go back home or you'll end up like me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Batman: Dead End

I had been looking for this and then it hit me to finally try YouTube! This is one of the best fan movies ever and won a lot of awards at several conventions.

Monday, June 11, 2007


I haven't done too much in the Lower 48 so far except vacation, basically. Seeing the family in the Seattle area. We actually took the ferry from Bainbridge Island on Saturday and explored Seattle for a bit. We went to the Pacific Science place in Seattle center. Saw a big room of butterflies. And big dinosaur bones. Fun for the whole family.

Other than that, we are just we-waxing right now (as Elmer Fudd would say). I've been reading a couple books. I'm into crossword puzzles right now. Just killing time.

Our car, a Ford Escape, will be place on the barge in the next few days. Then, roughly 25 days later, it will arrive in Seattle. On the 26th of June, we are due to fly to see my family in Illinois. Then find an apartment in which to live in the Peoria area. The new teaching gig will start in August. Everything is hunky-dory.

Right now, June, is one of the best reasons to be a teacher!

I have taken tons of new pictures but still do not have a good enough set up to put them online or in the blog. I will do that soon. Just think of what I have to look forward to!