Sunday, January 26, 2014

Who's a little Goofy?

I am. My goal for this year is to prepare to complete the Dopey challenge at Disney World. This involves completing a 5K, 10K, half-marathon and full marathon on consecutive days. Check out this training plan: 

I am crazy stoked. If I complete the challenge medals similar to all the ones below will be mine: 

This all started with my, admittedly unhealthy, fandom of Goofy. I remember when I became a fan. It was New Year's Eve in 1992-1993. My whole family had made the trip to Disneyland to celebrate the new year. We were at Disneyland and I saw a Goofy t-shirt that I liked and really wanted. My father initially wouldn't let me get it, as he didn't think having a Goofy shirt was appropriate. He confirmed that I "REALLY, REALLY wanted it" (my words, not his) and I ended up getting the shirt. I wore that shirt until it fell apart. I now have:

three (and almost a fourth) quilts made from retired Goofy t-shirts (thanks Melanie!!)

A bookcase to display my Goofy collectables:
(Notice the large Goofy statue up top)

A tub full of various stuffed Goofys:

And my gaming namesake (the movers broke the light saber):

I hate running, but I have to do it for the Air Force (1.5 miles twice a year within a certain time limit). When I saw that there was a medal with Goofy on it that was given to those who completed the half- and full marathons at Disney, I knew I had to start training for it. That unholy obsession morphed into my Dopey desire (what's an additional 15k [~10 miles] when you're already running 63k [~40 miles]?). And now, Tricia, the kids, and various extended family members are all wanting to participate in the Disney running events. Awesome!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

You know you’re experiencing an Alaska winter when…

  • You put up outdoor Christmas decorations in September to beat the cold.
  • You drive with headlights at 3:30 in the afternoon through 10:00 in the morning.
  • The temperature soars to zero or above and you say, “It’s sure nice to have a break from the cold”!
  • Everyone you know is planning, or wishes they were planning, a trip to the “lower 48”.
  • Things that you once considered luxuries, such as a remote car starter and a heated garage, become necessities.
  • Home heating produces frequent smog advisories.
  • You refer to the Aurora forecast app on your phone as often as you do the weather forecast app.
  • Your friends have painted moose poop hanging on their Christmas trees.
  • You carry an arctic survival kit in your car.
  • You have spent a small fortune on car winterization, snow tires, snow pants, long underwear, boots, gloves, hats, etc.
  • You know exactly how long it will take for your skin to freeze to metal at -20, -30 and -40.
  •  If a parking lot doesn’t have outlets for plugging in your car, you just leave it running while you do your shopping/errand.
  • You cough every time you step outside.
  •  Ice forms in unexpected places – inside door locks, inside windows, in your nostrils…
  • Kids need a reflective belt for walking to school in the morning.

We certainly are enjoying our adventures in Alaska!  Jeremy is getting a lot of great experience as the newest dentist in the clinic and is working with the Cub Scouts at church.  

Tricia was recently elected to be the PTO president at the kids’ school and is actively involved with the Officers’ Spouses Club and Med Group Spouses Club on base.  She has been working with the 8-11 year-old girls at church and was just given the new responsibility of working with the 12-18 year-old girls.  

Becca is in 5th grade and stays active with Girl Scouts, Student Ambassadors and writing club. 

Isak is in 4th grade and is involved in robotics and chess club.  Both kids started playing violin this year with the school orchestra. 

Our family tries to get to the gym as much as possible to work toward a goal we have set to participate in the Disney Marathon in January 2015.  The kids are preparing for a 10K,  Tricia is preparing for a marathon, and Jeremy has set his sights on the Dopey Challenge - a 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon spread over 4 days.  Dopey indeed!

We are so grateful for our families and friends who are scattered around the globe.  Wethink of you often and wish you the best this holiday season and throughout the year!


Jeremy, Tricia, Becca & Isak

Thursday, November 28, 2013

There's Gold In Them There Hills

A fun stop in the Yukon was a visitors center where we learned the history of the poem The Cremation of Sam McGee, and the kids got to try panning for gold.

If you are interested in the history of the poem, here is what Wiki has to say on the topic:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Yukon Territory

I have always felt that there is a sense of mystery associated with the Yukon.  Whether I was learning about Yukon gold miners in history lessons or watching The Polar Express, I have long been intrigued by the far north.  It was pretty exciting to me when we drove into Yukon Territory.

Our first stop in YT, Watson Lake, was one of the most interesting towns we passed through on our trip. The Milepost Magazine (a must-have if you are traveling the Alaska Highway - best $35 I've ever spent, and that's Canadian dollars!) gives this brief description of Watson Lake:

"Gateway to the Yukon"
Milepost 612.9 from Dawson Creek
Population: 1563

"Watson Lake is an important service stop on the Alaska Highway.  The community is also a communication and distribution centre for the southern Yukon; a base for trappers, hunters and fishermen; a supply point for area mining and mineral exploration."

"Watson Lake was an important point during construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942.  The airport, built in 1941, was one of the major refueling stops along the Northwest Staging Route, the system of airfields through Canada to ferry supplies to Alaska and later lend-lease aircraft to Russia."

"The Alaska Highway helped bring both people and commerce to this once isolated settlement.  A post office opened here in July 1942.  Today, the economy of Watson Lake is based on services to mining exploration and tourism."

There is a Signpost Forest in Watson Lake, where travelers can commemorate their passage through by adding a license plate or sign.  Now that we have our new Alaska license plates, maybe we'll send a Goofy II plate from Indiana or Ohio to add to the Signpost Forest.

The Signpost Forest extends to a Northern Lights Centre in the town, where they have signs to show the distance of planets and the Sun from Earth.  The Northern Lights Centre had one of the most amazing movies on Space that I have ever seen.  You want to feel insignificant?  Go hang out in the Yukon and watch a movie on Space.  You will become keenly aware of how very tiny you are.

We stayed at this charming little inn called the Air Force Lodge, which was originally built in 1942 to be pilots quarters and has since been restored.  They require that you take your shoes off at the door and it is impeccably clean.  Those of you who know of my hotel anxieties will understand why this was the best night's sleep I had on the entire trip.  Each room only has two twin size beds in it (think dorm style - just as it would have been for pilots in 1942), so the kids were in their own room and each had their own bed.  They thought that was pretty cool.

The owner of the Air Force Lodge is one of the most interesting people I've run across.  He is a German man with a heavy accent, but he and his wife have lived in Canada for many years and love it.  He is robustly friendly and made us feel right at home.  Their home is on a lot adjoining the Air Force Lodge.  It is a double-decker bus that they have re-purposed into a house.  I couldn't help but think of my nephew, Vincent.  I imagine him living in a house like this someday.

Behind the Lodge they keep horses and teach riding lessons.

It was recommended that we go to Bee Jays for breakfast.  We were warned that it looked frightening, but that the food is wonderful.  I don't know, what's frightening about a diner attached to an automotive repair shop?  Well, it was interesting, but we enjoyed our breakfast and then embarked on our ninth day of travel.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Ray of Sunshine

I've been too busy with other projects this week to continue my blog updates on our drive to Alaska, but I will get back to them very soon.

In the meantime, I came across a little gem this morning that I want to share.  For homework last night, Isak was typing something that he had written.  When I got on the computer this morning, his document was still open.  Here is what I found:

I am thankful for many things in my life, but mostly I am thankful for family, shelter and books. I am thankful for family because I love them. Another reason I am thankful for family is that they take care of me. Second, I am thankful for shelter because I live in Alaska and if I didn’t have shelter I would literally freeze to death. Also If I didn’t have shelter I wouldn’t be safe and someone (or something) could kill me easily. Finally, I am thankful for books because if they didn’t exist I wouldn’t have a very good imagination. I also wouldn’t be entertained if I didn’t have them. I am definitely thankful for family, shelter, and books.

When day to day life gets a little (or a lot) hectic, it's wonderful to come across little rays of sunshine, like this one, to warm and brighten your day.  Everything, from what he said, to how he said it, to the font he chose, makes me happy.

Praying that you find a ray of sunshine in your busy life today!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Favorite Scenery - Alaska Highway

17 pictures
Click here to view these pictures larger

There is nothing I can say to adequately describe the beauty and majesty of views along the Alaska Highway.  These photos are some of my favorites.  Enjoy.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Aside from taking in the breathtaking scenery, one of the joys of driving the Alaska Highway is seeing wildlife.  We saw stone sheep, black bears, bison and moose.