Monday, March 28, 2011

The Man that was Clive

The people-watching in Seattle has been amazing!  My only concern is that my darling husband, who is far better at nicknaming and recalling these memorable folks, is not with me.  I will do my best to try and paint you the picture of the freak show that is Port of Seattle: Sea-Tac Airport.

Before I can do any of that, I need to wrap up the chapter of the trip that focused on the orange hoodie-clad thirty-eight year old who is trying to "keep it real, man."  He ended up being my seat partner, with the middle seat gapping us from being even closer.  Trust me, I am not complaining about this.  Anyway, as I mentioned before I slept almost the entire flight, as did he.  The few times that the turbulence or fellow passengers woke my slumber, I looked around to make sure I was where I belonged and Clive was still there.  I've given him that name because it seems old school enough to be classic, but new school enough to make him a douche. So the plane is landing, he's still out and even after better than half of the plane has exited their rows.  He wakes with a start, a furrow of the brow and asks me,

"Does everyone get off the plane now?"

"Yea, I think we do."
Mind you I'm by the window and in order for me to leave, this fella has to get up, so I need to make this happen as smoothly and quickly as possible.

"Doesn't this go to California?"
Oh boy.  I do recall that they mentioned something about going all the way to Dallas, or maybe Fort Worth, it's all hazy at this point.  I know it was definitely a city in Texas, not California.

"I think it goes onto Texas."
A flash of clarity comes over his face.  He's seen the light.

"You may be right."
And with that, he ascends from his seat, headphones and ridiculous man-purse around his shoulders, he attempts to get about four packages from assorted overhead bins.  This would have been fine had he started this process when the five rows in front of us were getting themselves ready.  However, Clive chose the exact moment that he should have been exiting the plane via the middle row to start getting out of his seat.  At the exact same time, the elderly man who sat in the row perpendicular to us was getting out of his row, all bags in hand and ready to exit.  Clivey simple bumps this old man back into his 14B seat.  Told ya.  Tell tale signs of total douchdom.   By the time that I am stepping off of the plane, my darling unhip hippy is still trying to wrangle his luggage into order.  I'm afraid he's still lost on the ramp, caught forever between "here" and "almost there."

9:45AM - Almost to Seattle, WA

9:45 AM Pacific Time Zone
Well I have boarded and flown for the majority of my Anchorage to Seattle flight.  I remember the spiel that the flight attendants gave us about the safety features and procedures of the Boeing 737 and it’s actual take off. After that, I’m a totally blank slate.  I zonked out pretty quickly and only after counting my blessings for the lack of my middle seat partner.  I picked out the interior seat of a three-person row, and was pretty calm when my isle-seat companion arrived.  Although he had been “that guy” who angrily mouths the words of the song blasting in his ears through black earbuds and you can’t quite tell his age, mostly due to the college appropriate wardrobe that clashes with the late 30ish wrinkle lines.  Apparently there had been a lot of laughs in this guy’s past based upon the amounts of lines that formed when he would get really intense emotions over a particular lyric of a song.  Thankfully this was the only real “character building” aspect of this leg of the journey.
I am totally amazed whenever I get onto a real life plane, not a SAAB from PenAir.  Flying on these little guys is like using the last teensiest bit of toothpaste from travel-sized toothpaste tube; a small vessel that provides you with the essential usage of the full sized version, but you struggle to make it through the process.  I know that I’m no slouch when it comes to height versus other women, but I still qualify as the same fit as the average sized male with my 5’9” frame, and even I find the SAABs to lack the necessary size to make me comfortable sitting for 3-4 hours at a time.  Knees wedge between my captain’s chair and the one in front, and that’s not even when you factor in the automatic reclining feature that 30 years of use has offered the PenAir customer.  No need to bother hitting buttons when simple posture pressure will do the trick for you.  But flying to Seattle has made me feel like a queen amongst, well other royalty and their superiors I suppose since I’m in a filled cabin of other Economy passengers behind the First Class folks.  But you get the idea.
I always like flying because you can look out of the windows and if it’s during the daytime, no matter the time of year or day you’ll see the sunshine.  As I peer out of my window, that’s got the shade available for me to operate if I’d rather take the brightness down a notch, I see clouds with a few breaks scattered amongst them.  There’s something that cheers you up about seeing consistent sun after living on an island when you have to soak up the sporadic rays. It would be a much different perspective on the weather if I were a few thousand feet lower.  I would be looking up and hoping for the progression of Spring to quicken its pace.  Either way, I would be grateful for what I got.  It’s also pretty amazing to see stretches of land again.  It’s a little bit misleading flying over western Alaska on your way to Anchorage.  You see a blotch of island as you take off and then it’s all blue seas and white clouds until the peaks and valleys of land replace them.  It’s almost like a blank of confectioners sugar has been shifted on the terrain, and so you go from one constant palate of color to another.  This isn’t the landscape that I grew up on, so it’s still amazing to me.  I suppose it would be a rather sad day when flying over such majestic beauty becomes mundane.  
With the captain’s special offer for a pre-approved Visa card with bonuses for filling out an application fills my ears and I roll my eyes at how we can’t even take a flight without having commercials jammed down our throats, I think I’ll call this installment finished.  I’ll be in Seattle for a few hours; we can start boarding the Delta flight bound for Detroit at 12:30PM.  That’ll give me just enough time to spruce up my 4PM makeup and hairdo.

SCC ENGLISH: 10 Characters from 'Hamlet': 8. The Player King

SCC ENGLISH: 10 Characters from 'Hamlet': 8. The Player King: "The eighth character in our series on (relatively) minor characters in Hamlet is in fact a character in the play within the play, The Mouset..."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

10:17pm on Sunday Night - Anchorage Airport

Why not chronicle all the stepping stones of travel, the hotspots of my journey home if you will?  Let me outline it for you first:

  • 4:30PM (AK time zone) PenAir flight to Anchorage
    • Arrival in Anchorage approximately 8:30PM
  • 6:10 AM (AK time zone) Alaska Air flight to Seattle, WA
    • Arrival in Seattle approximately 10:30 AM
  • 1:15 PM (Pacific time zone) Delta flight to Detroit, MI 
    • Final destination time: 8:28 PM (Eastern time zone)
That's the plan.  As I've grown to know and expect, the best laid plans....I don't know how that quote ends.  But what I'm trying to say is that everything can be planned out really really well (see my previous blog) and there can be something that goes wrong that bumps the whole process offline.  

So as of 10:17 PM, I have made the most tricky of the legs of my trip.  I am in the proper terminal and exact gate for my flight...that'll take off in 8 hours.  Like I said, I like to be prepared.

I ate dinner here at the airport, called my husband to check in, and have set myself up on an adequately comfortable bench with my laptop downloading the 5th season of "30 Rock."

I'll check in later, much to either your enjoyment or boredom.

March 27th - On my way home

I really haven't decided what this blog is really going to mean to me.  I don't know if this is something that I will write for my own appreciation, or if I hope to share information with the Internet cosmos.  Realistically I have no followers, and that's just fine.  I really don't know that I am the type that wants to be known online as someone's whose words need to be read as soon as they pour out of my head and through my fingers.  I really don't have that much to say of any real note on a grander scale.  Of course to me, I think I'm brilliant.  Naw.  Scratch that.  I think that what is happening in my life, in my circle of life (AKA my friends and family) is important.  I try to keep a scaled focus.  I know that to those who have lost their homes in Louisiana are like, "Oh yea, well whatever you're going through, at least you have a home."  The Japanese are definitely facing far heavier burdens just today than I probably will during my entire lifetime.  I don't mean to downplay anything that I, they, or anyone else is going through, but right now my life is just a bit too chaotic and  unmanageable for my taste.

Those who know me know that I like to have a strong grip on the events and decisions that affect my life.  Quite frankly I like to be in control of most people's lives who come into contact with me on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis.  In the words of the world's most self-centered person, "I want what I want when I want it."  Not asking all that much, but then again it is all relative.

So when I find myself in situations that I cannot control 100%, due to my own previous decision or not, I feel as though my life is in the spin cycle with the rinse and repeat setting on.  I get irritable, frustrated, depressed, sad, and never jovial.  I don't find the bliss in uncertain situations.  I don't think that going to the airport, getting on a plane and arriving at a destination without a planned schedule is fun or quirky.  But that doesn't mean that I don't like an afternoon of doing nothing.  I decided to do that, so it's ok.

Right now, the spin cycle is on the "total screw you" setting. It was one week ago that my parents flew into Anchorage to spend a few days with my husband and I on our Spring Break vacation.  I knew previous to this that there had been some medical issues, blood in the urine and some tests, with my dad but there were very general and comforting responses to my inquiry.  Monday night, before the first card of Euchre was dealt in our hotel room, my mom introduces the concept that she has some bad news, but everything will be ok.  Oh boy.  Two concepts that don't really go together, like peanut butter and Italian bread.  According to the results of these tests, my dad has a tumor growing inside his kidney.

Is it cancerous?
How big is the tumor?
About the size of a lemon.
What can be done about it?
Complete kidney removal.
When is that going to happen?
We're not sure.
Any other symptoms?
Are you scared?
No, but a little insecure.
Is my dad going to die?
Probably not.
How long is his recovery going to be?
About three months
How are they going to remove it?
Possibly through his chest.
What the hell???
Yea, I know.
Are you sure you're not scared?
It's all God's plan.
Yea, but are you scared?
A little.
Can I come home?
We'd love to have you.
When should I come home?
I don't know.
What am I supposed to do between then and now?
I don't know.
Why is this happening to us again?
I don't know.

Fast forward to today and I'm planning my wardrobe for my trip back to Michigan.  I was called on Friday to let me know that the surgeons are going to be unavailable during the month of April, so they are going to have the surgery scheduled on Wednesday, March 30th.  I'll be flying into Anchorage tonight and then heading east throughout Sunday night and Monday. 

 I feel so much better being home and knowing when the surgery is actually going to take place.  I still don't' know what will be the end of this particular chapter in the lives of Father, Mother, and Daughter, but at least I have read the first always find out pertinent information in the first chapter of a novel.  Of course it'd be nice to have read through at least Chapter Seven; Chapter Seven is a good one for plot development and you're done with all the exposition crap.  But if my faith has taught me anything it's to pray, pray, pray and leave it in the hands of the one who is in control.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Broken?

In less than a week, I'll be heading on my first Spring Break trip since Dan and I went to Cleveland, OH.  What in the world could we possibly do to top the tropical weather of the Midwest in late March?  There's only one answer to that: balmy Anchorage.  I've got my two-piece packed and two bottles of sunscreen because I plan on getting a little sun-kissed.  But I gotta watch this fair skin.  Nothing is more awkward than trying to deal with sunburn under a parka and muffler.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I am back from my whirl-wind trip to Anchorage for the ASTE convention.  It was a great experience to get out there in the tech/ed world of innovation.  So glad to hear that teachers aren't trying to reinvent the wheel, but they're simply digitizing it.  Everything from blogs to podcasts to iMovie versions of book reports was being displayed with pride.  Who would have thought 100 years ago that in Bush Alaska there would be this type of technological advances?  Amazing.

I was proud just to have been able to make it to the event!  Friday, our island lost power - literally the entire island experienced a blackout.  We found out later that there was a short in the system - no kidding!  We were without power for close to 6 hours.  By the time they fixed everything, our flight was long gone.  Next time, add the runway lights to the backup generator.
Saturday rolls around.  We were hoping to be able to get on a flight that was schedule for 8:30pm, but due to the entire fleet of PenAir being grounded because of contaminated fuel, we were stuck for yet another day on St. Paul Island.  Sunday offered yet another opportunity for our faith to be tested.  We were put on standby for the 4:30 flight, but either way we could leave at 12:30am.  Standby means to literally standby the ticket counter because it doesn't seem to matter that a phone call says you aren't on the flight.  Our trusted leaders were at the airport and were able to be put on the 4:30, despite us being told that there was no room at the inn.  Thanks for looking out for us.  

12:30am turned into 2am take-off time and 4:15 landing into Anchorage.  We slept a few hours, cleaned ourselves up and made it to our presentation on time.  Yahoo.  I returned home on Tuesday afternoon, arriving at my from door at 9pm.  Was it worth it?  Probably not.  I could have gotten the same information in a podcast on iTunes, but the fact that I got my name and face out there was a plus.  

My darling husband is still in Anchorage, attending yet another conference until Friday.  It'll be nice to have a quiet house, but then again, I'd rather a little noise be there along with him.  A three-day work-week and then conferences on Saturday just about wraps up my week.  There will be a union meeting as well as a pep rally before the last basketball game for our SeaParrots.  Just like having an MIA husband, I like the quiet of an eventless week, but I would take the chaos 100 times over.  It means that there's a purpose for all the hard work that we put in everyday.  The joy and progress of our students, that's what I live for.  So bring on the hectic schedule - they're worth it.