Tuesday, October 30, 2007


We had much fun in the Butcher household this year carving some real pumpkins. We used one of those pattern kits. I carved a skull that turned out nicely. Morgan carved a really cool batty bat. Madison and I did a nice and easy traditional one.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I also won a large T-shirt with this but it appears I am too much of an extra-large man. I gave it to Morgan for a nightshirt.

Virgin Comics Blog
Gamekeeper Contest Winners
Posted: 23 Oct 2007 02:13 PM CDT
A big thanks to everyone for participating. Here’s the list of 5 lucky winners who get a Gamekeeper TPB—expect an email with follow-up details (or send your mailing address to blog@virgincomics.com)





Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Shirley Sez

My grandmother passed away in the early morning today. I got the call from Amy as I was already at school.

I had just arrived at school. In fact, I wasn't even in the building yet. A pickup driver fell asleep at the wheel right in front of the high school and smashed into a telephone pole. The airbag deployed. The driver was okay but the guy that was sleeping in the backseat hurt his face and upper lip, saying he thought his teeth went through his lip. So I was out if front helping out a bit.

I feel terrible. I know we weren't the closest but I still feel horrible about the whole thing. She always sent the kids birthday cards, Christmas cards, Easter cards, Halloween cards, that she made with a computer program. The kids loved seeing them. When I was much younger, she always sent me books. I had one of the best summers of my life back in 1984 at their house in California when the Olympics were in Los Angeles. I feel really bad for my grandpa. He is moving back to Illinois and she is being interred here. Something was said about services being around Thanksgiving so everyone can be here.

It was sudden but not sudden. She was just up here, what, last month or so? It was almost as if she knew and wanted to see everyone one last time.

She wrote a column for local newspapers called Shirley Sez, a column about household tips and recipes.

She is survived by her husband of over fifty years. She leaves behind a daughter and three sons. She leaves behind nine grandchildren. She leaves behind four great-grandchildren, so far.

Goodbye, Grandma.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Peoria Comicon

From a Comics Buyer's Guide newsletter, I learned that there was a little comic convention in Peoria yesterday. And I mean little. One room and two or three dealers. However, I got some amazing deals. I bought 70 comic books for only $30. They had these boxes where they were $1 apiece or 20 for $10 or 50 for $20. So of course I got 50. And there was a quarter bin that I had to peruse. You can try any kind of comic book for a quarter. I got an ecletic set as well as some ones that I really wanted.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I won!

I won in a Comics Buyer's Guide little drawing for a free comic:

The winners from entries received Oct. 14 are: A copy of Superman/Batman #20 goes to Ian Ritchie of Douglas, Wyo., while a copy of Robin #126 goes to Matt Butcher of Normal, Ill.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Midland Welcomes New Teachers for 2007-08

(I forgot to share this when it first appeared in August...)

By Rolf A. Sivertsen, Principal, Midland H.S.

This year four new teachers will start the year at Midland High School. This is probably the most geographically diverse staff that Midland High School has experienced in six years.

Mr. Matt Butcher: Mr. Butcher was raised in Illinois and has taught in Washington State and Alaska. Mr. Butcher's most recent assignment was in Nome, Alaska. In fact, while working in Nome, Mr. Butcher was living only 100 miles from the former Soviet Union! While living in Alaska Mr. Butcher was interested in the Iditarod dog sled race and had many Inuit students. This year Mr. Butcher will be teaching English I, English 4CP, and English 4. Mr. Butcher is married with two daughters.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Saturday at Dave and Buster's

To top off the weekend, we had dinner at Dave and Buster's in St. Louis on Saturday night. The place was packed. However, we had plenty of fun waiting for our table by playing the dozens of video games, especially the cool racing games where you sit in the race car, and stuff. Madison even got on one of those motorcycle games and I drove it behind her. Morgan and I raced the NASCAR game and she was even beating me for a while, but I pulled it out.

Madison got awfully tired as we sat down to eat about 8:30. By the end of dinner, she was exhausted. It only shows how much fun we had. I snapped this picture of her at the dinner table, where she actually fell asleep as I paid the check.
What a great weekend.

Mississippi River

And then I realized as we were walking down by the Arch, I had never touched the Mississippi River. I had driven over it a few times (3 total, before this trip, so now it is a total of 5 times driving over it). But I had never put my hands in it. Now we did, all of us.

The Arch

The highlight of our little adventure, outside of the great shopping deals we got at the St. Louis Mills Mall in Hazelwood, had to be the St. Louis Arch, the Gateway to the West.

Not one of us had ever seen it before. We had to touch it. I have a necessity for tactile memories, like touching monuments such as the Space Needle, and dipping my hands into water, such as the Rhine River in Germany and the Arctic Ocean near Barrow. We didn't go up the elevator, but just seeing it was impressive.

St. Louis

Friday afternoon, I checked my email at work and there was one from Amy:

Hi we are going to St. Louis this weekend. I found a hotel and everything.
Love YA

So I was excited. Any chance for a great little road trip. It was originally supposed to be an overnight stay to go to the outlet mall near Tuscola, but since this weekend was U of I's homecoming, every hotel was booked. Amy changed gears and sent us, welcomingly, out of state.

Basically, this was a nice long shopping weekend. The kids and I have a three day weekend for Columbus Day. We left Friday night right after we got home. We would have gotten to our hotel sooner, but we unfortunately printed off directions to the mall, not the hotel. The hotel, Ramada Airport, was much tougher to find than you would think. We got lost in St. Louis for about an hour. The roads there have to be the most confusing I have ever enountered for a big city. There are expressways, but it seems that every one of them have a "70" in them: 70, 170, 270, and 370. So that's confusing. Plus, 270 does this horseshoe around St. Louis so you never know if you are going north, south, east, or west. We saw a lot of the back areas of St. Louis and at one point were behind the airport landing strips. But we found the hotel eventually.

The Car

First pictures of Amy's car as she pulls it into our parking lot at our apartment.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I passed!

I passed my state teacher certification tests!!

Test Date: 09/08/2007

NORMAL, IL 61761


Test: 111 English Language Arts
Total Score: 278
Minimum Passing Score: 240
Status: Pass

Test Date: 09/08/2007

NORMAL, IL 61761


Test: 103 APT: Grades 6-12
Scaled Total Test Score: 256
Minimum Passing Score: 240
Status: Pass

See the Midland High School parade


This was the first parade for this area's school in over 50 years. It was a big success for a two-week notice. They are looking at how to improve it for next year.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Nome Volleyball this year


I find it hard to believe that Nome still doesn't play Barrow during the regular season. There are three teams in the Far North Division and Nome only plays Kotzebue...twice!...during the regular season. Three teams and the biggest division rivalry doesn't meet until the conference championships...and this year, an odd year, there will be two berths to the State tourney. It will be interesting to find out why the conference championship is in Unalaska--that's a different division known as the Great Alaska division. Maybe they are combining tourneys? There was once a possibility of combining the two divisions, because they are small, and just giving them a total of three berths.

That means Nome plays Kotzebue, Bethel, Dillingham, and participates in the Mixed 6 tournament, and that's all.

The car is here

The car is here! Our Ford Escape has arrived all the way from Nome, Alaska! It has been a four month journey, from the first of June, but it is here.

We spent most of the evening sprucing it up--took it to the car wash and went over it with a fine tooth comb. We took it to Wal-Mart for an oil change and bought new floor mats, and an odor-control thing because it was a little musty after being in a connex for almost four months, trapped upon two different boats.

But it is here. Whew! Now Amy does not have to wake up so early to either catch the bus or get a ride from me. Madison will get to daycare at a decent hour, not 6:30 am. Amy will get to work at 8 and not 7. It will save me a good forty minutes a day in driving to pick everybody up by driving into Normal/Bloomington. So it is a very good thing.

I left for work at the same time and arrived a good thirty minutes earlier than usual. Excellent--more planning time!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Almost Here!

The car was in Minneapolis yesterday afternoon. The truck must be taking the northern 90 route. He had apparently hit some bad weather at one point that slowed him down.

Now our car, knock on wood, will be here by noon tomorrow! I will drop Amy off at work but won't have to pick her up.

The ordeal is almost over.