Another big catch-up

It cannot be Memorial Day next weekend…

The last 5-6 months have been a whirlwind. Starting a new job right before Christmas and having a 15-credit load at college didn’t leave much time for a great deal of downtime, yet looking back I also took three LIFE classes at Eden seminary, flew back up to Alaska to help run tech for Cama-i, moved to a new house, and had two or three weekends in Iowa. Now that college has been finished for a couple of weeks and we’re settled in to our new house, it’s nice to have some time to relax for a little given the upcoming summer plans.

Heading back to Alaska for Cama-i was somewhat weird. Everything was familiar and hadn’t changed, and it was great to catch up with friends again and be a part of running Cama-i. The traveling to and from wasn’t so great, but it was nice to fly Alaska Air all the way from St Louis. And, and having been back in Alaska for literally 5 minutes, I was sat in the bar (of course!) having an Alaskan Amber when Iditarod champion John Baker walked by 😀

Bethany and I moved at the start of the month to a new house still within Maplewood, and we’re pretty much settled in now. The back yard is a little bigger and Kenai seems to like it, and we’re also 5 minutes from the dog park which is great too. Ace seems a lot happier with extra places to explore in this house and a lot more windows to look out of.

Work at SLUH has been going good, again, starting to get settled in, be able to find my way around, and know most of the people working there. It’s a nice place to work, with the atmosphere being pretty laid back and open most of the time. Wednesday evening was nice with the end of year staff which was held on Windows on Washington, a pretty smart banquet area overlooking Washington Avenue in downtown St Louis.

It’s only a month until we get married, and I’m really looking forward to having family around for a little while. We’re also heading back to England for our honeymoon the first week which we’re both really looking forward to. Trying to cram everything in to an 8-9 trip will be pushing it a little to much, but I’m sure it will be great.

New job and car

Right in time for Christmas, I started work as a technology support specialist at St Louis University High today 🙂 I was officially offered the job last Monday and spent a couple of afternoon’s at the end of the week in the school starting to learn more about the technology department and try to find my way around the buildings. I’m glad to be staying within education, and looking forward working as part of a team again and having more interactions with students.

Working at SLUH meant I would be traveling in a different direction to work than Bethany, and working slightly different hours too. One of Bethany’s friends has a brother who works for the Bommarito auto group, a pretty big dealership in the St Louis area. We got a good deal on this 2004 Ford Escape XLT which lets us throw Kenai in the trunk and keep the back seat clear of dog hair:

2004 Ford Escape XLT

It’s really nice to drive, so now we get to fight over who takes what car 😉 And if you need a car around St Louis, get in touch with Craig Gaby at Bomarrito Honda just off I270 + N. Lindbergh!

Christmas is only a few days away now – we’re heading up Bethany’s parents in Iowa for a long weekend. Nikki also got flights booked for her and Dan as well as my parents to come over in June for our wedding, so really looking forward to that. Mam + dad are going to spend a little under two weeks around St Louis too, so will have plenty of time after the wedding to spend together too.

Arch Rival Roller Girls

On Saturday night, we headed out to the All American Sports Mall for some roller derby action. The Arch Rival Roller Girls is roller derby league comprised of four local and two travel teams. One of Bethany’s colleagues plays for ‘The Stunt Devils’ local team, as well as the ‘Saint Lunachix’ travel team.

Early 2nd half

We watched the first half from up on the balcony to try and figure out how things worked, then headed down on the floor for the 2nd half to cheer on Mighty Mighty Boston, here on the left:

Ready for bout

It was cool to be able to get pretty close to the action, and there was certainly a whole lot of bumpin’ and bangin’ going on, along with more than a few tumbles:


I guess like with hockey, not only do you have to pretty good at playing the game, you pretty much have to be a natural at skating too:


It really was a team game – here’s Mighty Mighty Boston getting a little help from one of her teammates whilst keeping the opposing team’s jammer behind:

Team game

Unfortunately, ‘Rebel Skate Alliance’ won the bout by 3 points, with the game staying really close for the last 20 minutes. It was still fun to watch, especially since it had been so close and engaging.

Victory celebrations

Photographing indoors at an event like this was a different challenge, and I was definitely casting a wishful eye over the Canon 70-200mm f2.8L-IS I saw another photographer wielding. I struggled to get much below 1600 ISO even with the EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS I have, so I was left quite noisy shots at times. But, hopefully next time I’ll be able to do a little better, as although I’ve been good, I don’t think Santa is bringing me a 70-200mm f2.8L this year 😉

St Louis

Been in a photography funk since leaving Alaska, so forced myself outside with my camera this afternoon. There’s plenty to photograph around St Louis, just not too many sled dogs, mountains, glaciers, etc. And given England lately, also no snow here. Yet.

I wandered around East Riverfront and the Eads Bridge, where half way across the Mississippi River you walk over the state line between Illinois and back into Missouri:

Eads Bridge state line

The Gateway Arch dominates the downtown St Louis area, and somehow we haven’t actually gotten down there yet. Barge traffic up and down the Mississippi River carries crops from farmlands all across the Mid-West, including this one passing the Arch as the sun was setting:

Barge passing by the Arch

The downtown St Louis skyline itself is something pretty cool on the few times we’ve driven across the Poplar Street Bridge come back from the Illinois side, and definitely something I’d like to get back to photograph. This shot at dusk is still pretty cool though:

St Louis skyline at dusk

There’s more photographs from a couple of little outings around St Louis on this flickr set such as the Sunnen MetroLink station right by our house in Maplewood:

St Louis Sunnen MetroLink station

Hopefully I’ll be a little better at keeping things more up to date on here too. We’re settled here in St Louis, Kenai is getting on for 6 1/2 months old now and has slept through a couple of long car rides back up to Bethany’s folks in Iowa and played with his cousin Samson for long weekends, and Ace, our Maine Coon cat also about 6 months plays with Kenai pretty much like he’s a dog too. Which helps them keep each other company I guess. Fall semester at college is nearly over and I’ve done a couple of LIFE weekend classes at Eden Seminary which have been good too. Doesn’t feel like December 1st after the past few winters of seeing snow around the end of September and it being around until May time! I might even end up getting one of those job things before the year’s out too.

Well, catch-up time again…

So, it’s nearly August, and we’ve been in St Louis for a month. Quite a bit has gone on I guess…

We finished off our time in Bethel and then spent a week traveling around south central Alaska with one of Bethany’s friends, Shannon, who flew up from Phoenix. It was a great way to end our time in Alaska. I’m still working through all the photos, but will get round to them.

After Alaska, we flew down to Bethany’s parents in Iowa and spent three weeks or so in + out getting ready to move to St Louis. We went to the Iowa Conference UCC annual meeting in Grinnel, headed off to meet some of Bethany’s friends in Omaha, Nebraska, then planned our first trip to St Loius for a few days. First, we needed a car, and we got a great deal on a 2001 Ford Taurus SES with only 63k miles on it:

2001 Ford Taurus SES

Once in St Louis, we managed to find a really nice two bedroom house for rent in Maplewood, 10-15 mins from downtown, and I got to see the sights of St Louis. The following week we came back down to finalize things and check out some more places, and then moved for real on July 1st. The U-Haul we rented was ridiculous, but worked out really well:


By chance, we had the Alaska detail on the side of our truck 😉 It was a good drive down though and we managed to get unpacked okay, and slowly got things we needed.

Job hunting has been slow, and I’ve been setting up to work as a freelance IT consultant which gives me the freedom to work on college classes as I need and not be tied in to working certain shifts. I got to head to Chicago for the first time as one of my projects, and finally sampled Chicago style pizza (it’s all upside down…). It’s working out good though.

A pretty hectic weekend flying out to Seattle for a wedding and re-union of a bunch of Bethany’s peace corps friends rounded off our planned traveling, so we were then able to finally get a puppy 😀


He’s a 10 week old yellow labrador retriever we named Kenai. After waiting so long for a puppy, it’s great to have one around the house now. He’s settling in okay and has his first vet visit tomorrow morning!