Thursday, September 24, 2009


Last time I posted a picture of me with Sabrina and Spencer at the Mendenhall glacier. Here's another picture of the glacier's lake with icebergs. Also, I'm cuter here.

So, the next day we made it up to Skagway, just a few miles from the Canadian border of Yukon Territory. I'm sure Skagway used to have an economy other than tourism, but I don't think it does now. There is one main drag of "authentic" shops. Mom, Cheri and I walked into the rest of town a little bit, where the people who work in the shops live. It's a beautiful small town where I'm sure everyone pulls together and feels like a real community, especially in the winter. Mom wants to move there, no surprise. Here's a shot of the tourist part.

We saw some local wildlife, too. Okay, we saw salmon and a seal, but whatever. The salmon were spawning, and I guess once they lay their eggs they die, and the baby salmon live on the body of their parents. I mean, I've heard of giving your life for your children, but still. Because the stream the salmon spawn in is now a dock for tour boats, there is a drain the salmon go up. This is a good place for a meal, if you are a seal.

Finally, bowing to Elli's every wish (as is proper), we took a train ride up to White Pass Summit, crossing briefly into Canadian (British Colombian) territory. It was an amazing ride. I think Sabrina was trainsick, because she was not happy. The scenery was amazing, though.

That night we had to book it (I guess) to Glacier Bay, because really, the waves were so high I thought I was going to pop right out of bed. Thank goodness, I didn't have any seasickness. Sabrina had a little bit of a hard night, which is why she slept with us. She only fell out of bed once. I'm not a bad mom.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Juneau: Alaska's Picturesque Capital

So, off we went. Here is a picture of our cruise ship. I'd guess it is bigger than all three of Columbus's ships put together, but HE didn't have to deal with the Northern Latitudes. So there. As you recall from my last post, we are the very bottom set of windows you can see on the boat, which was Deck 4.

Our first stop was Juneau. You can only get there by sea or air because of the Alaskan Mountain Range. They say it would be cheaper to move the capital to Anchorage than keep it in Juneau, but like THAT'S going to happen. It was a beautiful little city, though. Here's Spencer in front of a giant anchor (duh) and another view of the environs.

At every stop you can take "shore excursions." My goal was to see a bear eating spawning salmon. I did not. But we did see the Mendenhall Glacier, "The World's Only Drive Up Glacier." Of course, we didn't actually get on the glacier, but it was amazingly beautiful. See?

We also went whale-watching. We saw a whale who was surfacing, breathing, and diving. Very, very exciting. We watched her for about 15 minutes. We were holding our breath the whole time. Yes, Martha, THERE SHE IS AGAIN!!!! Finally, we left her behind. Not all was lost; we saw NINE whales, one of which decided to put on a show of leaping all the way out of the water repeatedly, and another which showed off her beautiful fluke. Since our camera died right when we saw Exciting Whale, here is the best I can do.

Sorry. Try googleing "whales jumping all the way out of the water" and you'll get a small sense of what we saw. Awesome!

Afterwards, it was back to the ship for a good (ha ha) night's sleep. Tomorrow: Skagway!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Back to the summer...

When we left our intrepid space-travelers, they had gotten back from Lake Powell for 12 hours and started cleaning up after Katrina. Oops, I mean The Great Pipe Burst.

After a short night's sleep, we left for the airport to go to ALASKA! Dad, at this point, had been to 48 states (there are 50). The other one he hadn't been to, besides Alaska? North Dakota. It was a hard decision to make. Which state do we knock out this family vacation, North Dakota or Alaska, North Dakota or Alaska....

So, a cruise to Alaska it is! We went on Norwegian Cruise Line, and they are geniuses. At check-in every person, including Sabrina, got a card. It was our room key, credit card, and ID in one. Our picture was taken and scanned in with the card, so when coming back on the ship they could just scan our card and tell it was us. Neat! Also, whenever you wanted to gamble (I never did), get drinks (I never did), play video games (I never did) or whatever, all you had to do was scan the card! And it didn't even feel like real money! Genius!

We settled into our room, and then I was the genius. I told Spencer he could go explore. Now, he had just spent a week cooped up on a houseboat, along with two 6-hour long car rides on either side of that, plus a 2-hour plane ride, plus getting on the ship. He was off like a shot! Later, when Zane asked him which trip he liked better, he said Alaska because you could go exploring.

Here is Sabrina looking out our window. We we on the bottom floor for guests, so we got a porthole instead of a window. Reminds me of the submarine ride at Disneyland!

Here is Spencer on his bed. Zane and I had a king size bed and Sabrina had a crib. Spencer's bed folded into the wall and got taken down at night by the stewards who also made animals out of our new towels. The creepiest was the monkey that hung from the ceiling, but they were all pretty cool.

This is Mom and Dad's room. They decided to get a bigger room with a balcony so we could sit there on the day we went to Glacier Bay, so we could a) get a good view and b)not rub shoulder with the masses.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back at School

It's been a long four weeks! Right after we got back from our trips I started school, and I've been substitute teaching since then. It's at Salt Lake Arts Academy and in the subject I've been teaching for five years, so it's not really that hard. Except this week, I have been substituting for a math class just one period a day. Here's what I've learned.

-5th and 6th graders are really, really squirrelly 6th period. Actually, all the time.

-I can know perfectly well how to do something, and explain it well, and sometimes kids still don't get it.

-Stupid kids are really, really frustrating. (That's a joke. Kind of.)

-I have more patience than I thought I had for the above problem.

-Some kids will sit and stare at a paper for 15 minutes at a time, then do 3 minutes of work in 30 seconds if the teacher is standing over them.

-I'm really glad I teach 7th and 8th graders normally. Phew!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Overheard at Lake Powell

Ow! No Sabrina! We do not bite Mommy's toe!

There were six toothmarks.