Friday, August 31, 2007

Day 6 Found Us In Price Rupert, BC

Wednesday (August 22, 2007) we arrived in Prince Rupert B.C. After breakfast, we went off the ship, thru customs, walked up to the bus stop and paid our $2 to ride the shuttle bus all day.  The driver told us he would be making the circle from the ship thru town & back every 20 minutes or so.  It was soon apparent that we had dressed too warmly. So we rode to the mall, agreeing that before we went on our planned excursion at 1:30pm, we would go back to the ship and change clothes.  Unfortunately, the mall left much to be desired...several of the stores were closed, no longer in business.  We did go into one store called Zellers and found it to be much like K-Mart here in the U.S.  There was a Carlton Card store, a jeans store and I believe a kids clothing store, a bank and post office. We saw it all and were back outside when the bus pulled up about 20 minutes after it let us off.  As the bus continued thru town , we did see some shops that looked interesting, including a Salvation Army Thrift Shop and decided we'd check them later, after getting into cooler clothes and after our excursion was over.  So we came back to the Customs building, back onto the ship (all of this involves a process, that's not exactly quick at times) and while Bob went up to the Windjammer to grab us a couple sandwiches for lunch, I changed clothes.  He came back to the cabin, we sat and ate our sandwiches then he wanted to go back up to the Windjammer (on the 9th deck) for another sandwich, so I went withhim this time.  Somewhere, on the way down to deck 1 (where we were disembarking) he got off the elevator, saying he "was going to the rest room & he'd meet me down there."  So I continued down to deck 1 to wait for him.  It was shortly after 1pm and we had to be at the bus for our excursion at 1:20pm. While I waited I was finishing my sandwich & milk and when I was done, I turned, walked up about 4 steps and put the napkin and empty milk carton in a trash can.  I then walked down those 4 steps..continuing to wait for him.   I was gettin anxious because it was getting very close to 1:20pm...I didn't know what to do, there were 4 elevators coming down into that area and I knew if I went up 1 of them, he'd come down in another one.  I tried calling the I was really frantic.  It was a little after 1:30pm...I knew we'd missed our excursion shuttle, but I was afraid maybe he'd had a heart attack in the men's room...or somewhere.  I was still there waiting when a little after 2pm Dennis and Darlene came back on board, I asked them if they had seen him in town or up on the dock and they said no.  Well, to make a long story short, we finally caught up with each other about 3pm.  He apparently walked by and off the ship in those few moments I was walking up those steps to deposit the empty milk carton and napkin in the trash can.  He didn't see me and I didn't see him.  So we missed our Prince Rupert excursion but at least he hadn't had a heart attack in the men's room. 

At 5:30pm our ship gently pulled away from the dock and we watched Prince Rupert fade from view. It really is a beautiful little town, situated on the banks overlooking the water.

This evening was our second formal evening and lobster night at dinner. We laid out our clothes and went to see the entertainment in the Masquerade Theater at 7pm.  Once again the wonderful Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers performed for us.  "Broadway Rhythm & Rhyme" was a great show, featuring songs from many Broadway productions. I was once again amazed at the beautiful costumes and the quick costume changes...I don't know how they do it.  Back to the cabin for our own quick costume change and then to dinner.  Lobster...last year I was a sick puppy in my cabin on lobster night, so I was looking forward to this dinner.  Bob was a little confused as to what to order, as they also had prime rib on the menu.  He told Suzette, he didn't know what to do, so she told him she'd bring him both.   She brought us our lobster dinners, skillfully cutting the meat out of the shells for each of us.  A little while later, here she came with Bob's prime rib dinner.  He actually had 2 entree's 3 times that week.  What alittle piggy !  After dinner, we ran into Scott & Kim (the young couple we'd met at the Meet & Mingle) and they were going to karaoke. They thought we should come along, so we went & changed clothes and met them in the Some Enchanted Evening Lounge.  After karaoke, we hung in there for a late night adult comedy show, with comedian Carl Banks.  It was after 1am when we finally headed back to our cabins and fell into bed.  Bob set his alarm for 5:30am, so he could get up and sit in the hot tub, avoiding the crowds.  Good for him, I wasn't going to get up that early.

The hot tubs and pools on the ship are filled with sea water and heated to a pleasant 86*.  I'm not a swimmer, but Bob said it was very pleasant.

So day 6 of our adventure came to a close.  I was already getting the "I don't want to go home feeling."  But I knew we were getting closer to Seattle....

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tracy Arm Fjord Day 5

Quoting from the daily R.C. Cruise Compass; "Tracy Arm, the north arm of Holkam Bay, takes a general northerly direction for 9 miles, then turns eastward 13 miles to it's head, where two large glaciers, North and South Sawyer discharge into salt water. Traveling up Tracy Arm is like going back through geologic history.  The fjord's dramatic walls lose their vegetation until they become bare shining rock, shaped and ground smooth by ice.  In many places the mountains plunge vertically into the water, which is more than a thousand feet deep."

There was no way I could describe this experience....a new one for me, as we didn't go here last year....other than to say "AWESOME !!"  As you can imagine, the air was cold in here, I went up on deck and immediately went down to the cabin and put on a sweatshirt.  It was quite, breath taking and absolutely the most rugged but beautiful place I have ever been.  Even those of us up on the higher decks, were barely speaking...just looking...trying to take in all that we were seeing, the water was almost emerald green and the ice a light blue.   The ships captain did make an announcement that he couldn't take the ship in as far as he wanted to because of the amount of ice floating. Some of the crew went out in a life boat and gatherd up a hunk of ice to be brought to the ship for viewing up close. Then he quietly &  slowly turned the ship around in the channel and slowly we floated out of Tracy Arm.  I've included a link so you can see more pictures, showing different amounts of ice there.

Since the rest of the day was a day at sea, there were lots of ship board activities.  BINGO for one.  Now, I'm not a BINGO addict.  I've been to BINGO only once with a friend from work.  MyBINGO experience is limited to playing it at home when I was a kid and then later on playing it with my grandkids. I can't remember if this was my "BIG BINGO" day or not, but we played three different days and once I had all the right numbers and was able to yell "BINGO."  I had to share the prize, $270, so ended up with $137 of real money.  I know one day we played BINGO with friends Dennis & Darlene and new found friends Lanny and his wife, Larrie.   Thursday afternoon, the last afternoon on board, the big and final jackpot in the black-out game was over $5,000...won by one person and it wasn't me or anyone I know.   The staff member who called BINGO was a great guy, with a fantastic sense of humor, who had us all laughing and made the game so much fun.  I don't have a clue how you spell his entire name but he called himself "Moe" for short. He's from Fiji and has one of those very long Pacific Islander names. 

I think the 7pm entertainment tonight was without a doubt one of the best, also.  The show started with a female singer, Marlise.   She had a lovely voice and was a very pretty woman.   She opened for Paul Boland, called "The Man of 1000 Voices."  He is a singer/impressionist.  He was fantastic and put on a delightful show.  During his act, he called for a child out of the audience and a little girl raised her hand, so he brought her on stage and kneeling behind her, using a Kermit the Frog puppet and singing in Kermits voice.  When the show was over, the entertainment director called Marlise back for a curtain call, as well as Paul Boland and then the little girl came up on the stage and he said "Ladies & gentleman I present the Paul Boland family."   If you go to his website (link provided) you can actually click on different links and hear his impressions of different people.

Another singer we enjoyed was Sherri Cafaro.  She has a beautiful voice and plays the piano while she sings. She performed often at the beautiful white grand piano in the Centurm.  I think I may get a couple of her CD's for Christmas gifts which can be ordered from her website.

Tonight after dinner and all the activites we set our watches forward one hour as the next day we would wake up in the Pacific Time Zone.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Waking Up In Skagway

Monday morning, August 20, 2007 we woke up to find ourselves tied to the dock at Skagway, Alaska.  During the historic Gold Rush of 1898 thousands of gold-crazed adventurers looked for the best starting point for their trek to the gold fields.  They found the deepest area for boats was at the northern tip of the Lynn Canal.  This is how Skagway was born.  When I think of Skagway, I see in my mind the pictures of the steps carved into the ice and snow over that were built over the pass, so that the men could get their supplies to the gold fields beyond.  They were required to have a minimum of 1 ton of provisions when they reached the border of Canada or the Mounties would turn them back.  The prospectors would make many trips up the pass to get all their goods up to and over the summit.  Especially in the winter months, this might take 3 or 4 months....even more.   Many were buried alive in avalanches, many died of the extreme cold.  I've read so many of these stories...I couldn't help but think of those dear souls as I climbed out of that warm bus, that traveled up that beautiful smooth paved highway to take us over the pass into Yukon Territory.  How awful the conditions must of been for those men, from every walk of life...over a hundred years ago.  It was just like last year...cold, a little windy, quiet (except for passing cars) and you couldn't help but stare in awe at the rugged but beautiful landscape that surrounded the highway.   I especially enjoyed this year's trip as the same driver we had last year was there at the bus to greet us.  Mark, is very knowledgeable and entertaining and very willing to snap picture after picture of the tourists, with waterfalls, etc in the background.  Originally from Los Angeles, he's lived in Skagway for quite awhile now, is a volunteer firefighter and active in the Skagway community.  He spends his summer months doing tours up and over the Klondike Highway.  

Skagway boasts a population of just over 800 residents.  Unlike Juneau, it is accessible by the highway. You go north thru Canada, turn left in Yukon Territory, down the pass and there's the town.  I checked MapQuest, from my house it's 1,804.85 miles...a little over 33 hours driving time...depending of course on the weather. 

Skagway's climate is a little more temperate that Juneau's.  They get less snow and less rain fall (average is 30 inches a year).  The highway department does a great job of keeping the road clear because that's the main way they get the supplies in order to live.  Mark said in all the years he's lived there, the longest the highway was closed in the winter, was one year for 10 days.  And that was due to continual avalanches. 

During the summer months both Skagway and Juneau have between 16-18 hours of daylight.  And during the winter it's about the same amount of darkness.   Both towns are on Alaska Daylight Savings Time right now, so the time is four hours earlier than Eastern Daylight Time.  Skagway is much smaller than covers approximately a 20 by 5 block area.  And like Juneau, the mountains rise right up behind the buildings. 

I think my favorite of the 2 cities is Skagway, it's smaller, feels more like you've stepped back in time with the board sidewalks, etc.  And even though they have a lot of shops, there's no big complexes like Costco, Wal Mart or Mc Donald's.  There's a medical clinic in Skagway, with a couple nurse practioners and a couple physician's assistants but the closest hospital is a two hour drive (in good weather) into Yukon Territory.  They also make that drive to go toa theater or shop in the "big box stores."

We ate lunch in the Red Onion Saloon.  Back in the late 1800's it was one of the many "sporting houses" in Skagway's red light district.   The waitresses there are dressed in period outfits...and other than the modern conveniences, you really do feel like you've stepped into a parlor of a gold rush bordello.

We shopped, till we were ready to drop and we found ourselves continuing to shop & walk toward the pier where the ship was docked.  There was a stern wheeler that had come in & I wanted to go get a picture of that and then I told Bob, we may as well just walk back to the ship. Well, we got a little further and my poor sore knee was really screaming.  But we kept walking...which allowed us to walk by and take a look at Pellen Creek, which I had only passed by on the bus before.  The water was thick with spawning salmon and we were able to find a bench where we could sit and watch them.  There were some little boys trying to catch them with their bare hands but even at their end stage of life, the salmon were too quick for the kids.  There were also a  couple of men fishing, they had no trouble catching them, but they always threw them back, so the salmon could finish their journey.  Besides that, spawning salmon are not very good eating, unless you're a bear or an eagle.

The only thing that bummed me out on this day was that the great little shop, The Purple Moose was closed and empty.  I had planned on buying more Purple Moose(s) for Christmas gifts this year.

Finally back on board, we went to our cabin, unloaded all our goodies and got ready for the evening events on board.  The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers preformed that night and theywere great.  Since we were assigned to the late dinner seating, our show was at 7pm.  So we settled in our seats in the beautifulMasquerade Theater to watch the show. Those young people put on such a fabulous show.  Comparable to any in Vegas, for sure.   The costumes are beautiful and the costume changes are many.  I don't see how they do it. 

By the time the show was over and we headed for our 8:30pm dinner, the ship had sailed away from the dock and we were on our way to our next adventure.

Monday, August 27, 2007

What's The Capitol City Of Alaska ?

It's Juneau !  Founded during the gold rush in 1880, the former gold- mining town counts among it's riches some of Alaska's most spectacular scenery.  And Juneau can only be reached by water or by air.  There are no roads into the city of Juneau. Everything, from groceries, gasoline, mail, all items that are need to exist...must be brought into Juneau by one of those methods.  They do have a freeway, I imagine it's about 10 miles long.  They have a huge Fred Meyer Store complex, a Costco, a McDonald's and they are building a Wal Mart.  Our excursion driver pointed out the freeway overpass that's being built to accommodate the new Wal Mart. 

Our first stop on our excursion was at the beautiful Glacier Gardens.  It was truly a beautiful place and so well managed.  Guests are carried thru the many miles of rain forest gardens in 4 passenger golf carts.  All along the way, Nick, our driver was narrating, telling us about the history of this beautiful 50 acre paradise.   Please follow the link I've provided to read more about this unique "Garden of Eden."

From there we re-boarded the bus and continued on to the famous Mendenhall Glacier.  Unfortunately, we didn't have very much time here and were not even able to visit the Visitor Center. But we did have an opportunity to walk along the board walk provided over the stream, where salmon are already coming up to spawn.  There were park rangers there, to answer questions and watch for bears.  There was a lot of evidence of bear activity...grass mashed down where they had lain, dead salmon half eaten...enough evidence to be thankful for the watchful eyes of the rangers. And then we walked up to the viewing area provided for gazing across at the beautiful blue ice of the glacier.  If you follow the link I've provided for the Mendenhall Glacier, they even have a web cam that shows the area from the Visitor Center. Once you are at the site, you can also click on the fish cam and actually see the salmon swimming by.  There's also lots of other pictures and information about the area provided at this site.

On our way back to town we passed the beautiful Governor's Mansion.  It looks like it could be Scarlett's Tara in "Gone with the Wind."  Follow the link and you'll see what Imean.  Nearby is the aging Capitol Building.

Last year, Lynnette and I discovered a little quilt shop on the second floor of the Senate Building.  I had actually called the store about a month ago, to ask them to hold some fabric for me.  I'm not a quilter (I'd like to be... I guess I'm a journaler instead) but I wanted this special fabric for a gift.  So while Bob looked around in another shop, I went up the stairs to Changing Tides.  They have tons of beautiful fabric with an Alaska theme.  Also scrap booking stuff with the Alaska Theme.  Once again, I bought a raffle ticket, the raffle to benefit The Alaska Special Olympics, ends in November.  The prize...a beautiful full size quilt.  Will they ship it to the winner in Washington state...yup!

We stopped by to take a peek in the famous Red Dog Saloon.  Reported to be the final home of Wyatt Earp's pistol.  It's very unique, sawdust on the floor, all kinds of stuffed animals and fish hanging on the walls and always packed full of people.  We walked thru, so Bob could take a look and walked back out again.  We considered eating there but there wasn't an empty seat in the house.  Follow the link I've provided to see more pictures and read more about this very unique "watering hole."

We went from shop to shop, sometimes window shopping, sometimes actually going into the different shops & looking around.  In the window of one store we saw a beautiful necklace, it was either garnets or rubies and diamonds.  I thought it be a nice thing to wear... Wal Mart.  Well, Bob had the nerve to go in and ask the price...$150,000. Who could buy such a thing?

I really wanted to go up in the Mt Robert's Tramway.  But it was so foggy, that I knew once I was up there, I wouldn't get to see much.  My friend Barbara and her hubby have been up there on a clear, sunny day and they said you can see for miles & miles.

Finally, our legs, feet and my left knee gave out and we headed for the shuttle stop so we could go back to the ship.  We were due to pull away from the dock in Juneau at 8pm.  On the ship, looking back at the harbor, we saw a beautiful sight.  The other cruise ships with their lights reflecting on the water.  Shortly after 8pm, we began to gently pulled away from the dock.  We were sailing again.

After dinner, the food service staff was setting up the much anticipated "Sweet Indulgence Buffet" on two levels of the Centurm.  Besides dinner, I'd eaten a "death by chocolate" dessert, and I knew if took even one bite of any of those goodies...I'd be down for the count.  So I walked around, snapped some pictures and went back to the cabin to read my book.

Day 3 of our cruise was over........


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saturday August 18th Our Journey Continues

It's a little over 800 nautical miles from Seattle to Juneau.  The ship went about 20 knots per hour, which is about 23 miles per hour.  So if you do the see that it takes over 40 hours to get from Seattle to Juneau.  If you look at the map,  you'll see that the ship leave Seattle, heads north to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and then out around Vancouver Island, up to Juneau.  So Saturday is a sailing day.  A day to shop on board, a day to meet & mingle, a day to play BINGO and a day to generally explore the ship or just relax.  We went in the morning to the Shore Excursions desk and signed up for our off-shore excursions. We were blessed with smooth water, this day.  I normally don't get sea sick but had Dramamine & a bottle of Gatorade just in case. A lot of people had the Dramamine patches behind their ears.

The Vision of the Seas is 915 feet long, the beam is 105.6 feet, the passenger capacity is 2, 435, there are 765 crew members and the maximum speed is 22 knots (25.3 miles per hour).  Each cabin has a private bathroom, vanity area, closed circuit TV and phone.  It costs $7.95 a minute to place a call, so I imagine most people use the phone only to call Room Service (for meals, etc) or program their phone for a wake-up call (that's a great service when you forget your alarm clock)  There are 5 decks that contain cabins.  The upper decks of course have the outside cabins with balconies.  There are some connecting cabins and handicapped cabins on all levels.  Our outside cabin was on the third level (my request), nearly at mid-ship and was approximately 154 sq feet.  Sounds small but plenty of room for two people and after all you don't spend a lot of time there.  There were two single beds with two nightstands (with drawers) in between. A small sofa, a small round coffee table, the vanity area also had 3 big drawers and 3 small ones.  Then the closet, with more than enough room to hang your clothes. Above the TV was a cupboard with a small safe. You make up your own 4 digit combination & then are able to store your valuables there.   The bathroom has a toilet, a corner shower (with almost instant warm water & the best shower head I have ever used) and a corner sink and mirrored medicine cabinet

While you're at breakfast the cabin steward comes in and makes up your bed, takes away used towels and wash clothes & leaves new ones.  They come back in the evening, while you're at dinner...turn your bed down, leave a chocolate mint on your pillow or on the towel animal they create and again change out any towels, etc that need replaced. What service.......

A little after 12 noon we headed up to deck 11 to the Viking Crown Lounge for the Meet & Mingle event we had signed up for a couple weeks before.  Royal Caribbean had a little gift for each person, some non-alcoholic beverages and hors d'oeuvres.  I had been chatting on the Cruise Critic web site with other's  from all over the country and who had also signed up for this event. And this is where I met fellow journaler, Lanny and his family. We live about 10-12 miles apart but have never met in person.  On later days, we ran into each other around the ship, one day eating breakfast at their table, playing BINGO with them and even running into them in a store in Prince Rupert. We also got to know a young couple from Vancouver, WA down near the Washington-Oregon border.  We were on our Juneau shore excursion with Scott & Kim, and also ran into them several times during the week.  Wednesday night we went to Karaoke with them and didn't get back to our cabin until after 1am.  Pretty late for old people !! 

Saturday I also made my first trip into the ship's casino.  I had 5 Royal Caribbean silver dollar casino coins, that had been given to me from the husband of my friend Barbara.  I lost them in like 3 minutes.  My gambling budget was $ I put $20 into a quarter machine and played that for about 15 minutes, when it was also gone.  That was it !  I was out of there. My trip to the casino later in the week, with my last $20 went the same just wasn't meant to be. 

Saturday evening was our first formal night.  The night to congregate in the Some Enchanted Evening Lounge for the Captain's Welcome Aboard Reception.  He told us a little about the ship and those of us onboard (passengers from over 20 countries on this cruise), he also introduced the various department heads of the ship.  After the reception it was off to dinner.  Most of the men tugging at their ties, trying to figure out how they were going to eat dinner dressed in a suit & tie.  Our friend Dennis said "he only wears a suit & tie for funerals and hangings."  And for Bob, being a retired commercial plumber, working in dirty construction sites for over 30 years, this was not his normal dress.  LOL

But everyone got thru it, and the first full day of our cruise, a day where we were sailing out in the Pacific Ocean all day was over.  By the way, we did see whale signs.  Some water spouts and glimpses of whale tails.  But none of them came clear up out of the water to give us a real show.   

The very last thing we did before retiring was set our watches & clocks back 1 hour to Alaska time.      

Saturday, August 25, 2007

OK, Are You Ready ? Let's Go To Alaska !

Even with all the freeway construction in Seattle we managed to get to Bob's brother's place in West Seattle well before noon. We were actually on board and eating lunch by 1pm.  They asked people boarding about that time to go directly to the upper decks to relax or to the Windjammer Cafe for their buffet lunch as some of the cabins weren't quite ready yet.  I was so happy the weatherman cooperated and gave us a beautiful sunny day.  The Seattle skyline is so spectacular, especially against a blue sky and white fluffy clouds.  After some lunch we ventured down to our cabin on deck 3 and there was all our luggage waiting for us.  I immediately opened my suitcase and put everything away in the drawers provided, hung up my clothes in the closet and put my toothbrush, etc in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.  I was all settled in to my floating home for the next 7 days.

A little after 4pm the captain came on the intercom and welcomed us aboard and told us about the mandatory life boat drill which was held about 4:45pm.  Each cabin is equipped with life vests and each life vest has your cabin number and the number of the Muster Station you are to report to.   Unfortunately, our muster station was on the water side of the ship and as we were "mustering" we were also sailing out of Seattle.  So I didn't get any "sail away" shots...but was happy I'd taken some Seattle pictures soon after we got on board. 

Shortly after we sailed away, I was down in the cabin and the phone rang.  it was my friends Dennis & Darlene.  They were on this same cruise last year as Dennis and I graduated from the same high school ( of course the same year.)  They came over for a short visit and then we all went up on deck to enjoy the beautiful scenery passing by. 

At 8:30 Friday night we entered the beautiful Aquarius Dining Room for our first dinner.  The table number is on your Sea Pass (your ID & credit card..and always on your person) so Bob and I had already sneaked into the dining room and found our table.  I was so excited because we were once again on the upper level of the dining room and right next to a big window overlooking the sea.  The table was for 8 people but the other 4 people assigned to that table never showed up, so it was a table for 8 with just us four sitting there the whole week.  

We were anxious to meet our servers and soon they came along, with our menus and introductions. Our waitress was Suzette from the Philippines and her assistant was Carol from Trinidad.  The head waiter was a great gal,  I've misplaced my piece of paper with her name, but she was from South Africa.  Her husband was also on board and was also a head waiter.  They have two young children, at home in South Africa with their grandparents.  She was really missing the kids and looking forward to being at home with them for three months over the Christmas holiday's. 

After dinner, which was usually over shortly before 10pm, we made our way to the Masquerade Theater for the entertainment for the evening.  

Well our first day was over...we were all tired, so we headed for our cabin with the ship gently rocking us to sleep.     Until next time........Linda

P.S. Thanks to Lanny for updating me on the name of the head waiter...her name is Marliza.  She was wonderful...always smiling, always cheerful.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'M HOME !!!!!!!!

We got off the ship about 10am this morning.   I was whinning...."I don't want to go home!"   If I could have Gabi come with me, I'd would have been happy to float on back to Alaska. I took over 300 will have to go thru them.  I bought a really cool photo album that  holds 200 pictures but it's one of those albums that you add additional pages, so I won't have to throw out a bunch of extras.

We had a fabulous time and will tell you all about it. Maybe by Sunday I'll be recovered enough to think straight and have the pictures in order. Right now, I am so tired.  We were up very late the last couple night especially and had to be up very early this morning as they stopped service breakfast at 8:30am and they wanted us out of our cabins around the same time.  So we set the alarm for 6:15am this morning in order to get showers, and get up to the Windjammer for breakfast.  Then we waited with the bags we were hand carrying in the Masquerade Theater until our "number "was called and we could walk down the gang plank, we walked up last Friday.

So until I get all these bags unpacked and get my "land legs" back....Linda


Friday, August 17, 2007

We're Ready to Walk Out The Door

Bob stopped at Taco Time and is eating his "breakfast."   When he's done we'll load the car and head for Seattle.  The reports of the freeway conditions between here and there are pretty bleak but we have plenty of time and the car is full of gas.Due to the construction project, the freeway is down to one thru lane and one lane on the right for exiting the freeway.   Gabi is sniffing our bags...she knows something is going on.  That makes me sad but I know she'll be in good hands with my son.   Thank you all for your well wishes...take care and I hope you all have a wonderful week.  Until later.....Linda

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Oh my bags are packed, I'm ready to go..."

Well, they're not really completely  packed.  All the hanging stuff is ironed and still hanging.  They will go in the garment bag just before we walk out the door. And I have two outfits out, and will decide which one to wear based on the weather in the morning.  It's been a little cooler here today and we got about 5 minutes of rain this afternoon. 

I have never been able to figure out the video camcorder thingy I got as a prize from AOL UnCut Videos, so any videos I take will be taken with my regular digital camera.  But I did that last year and they turned out fine.  I might just take it along, it's not very big and play with it a little.  However, I don't have the proper gadget to unload it into my computer all will just have to come over to my house if you want to see any videos I take with it, unless I can figure out what I need and am able to buy the proper gismo.  Maybe I'll let Lanny look it over and he can advise me what I need to get.

I hate to leave my little kitty again. But I know she will be in good hands in my son's care. She really likes him, at least I think she does.  When he comes over here she crawls all over him and acts like she likes him. Even if he does call her "smooched face."

Well, folks that's all...I'm going to head down the hall with my book & my kitty.  It's going to be an early morning tomorrow.  I've got the alarm set for 6:30am.   By the way, I've been reading "Angela's Ashes"...have any of you read that book?  I was able to find the video on eBay and that should be here by the time I get back and by then I'll be done with the book.  I'll be anxious to see how the movie compares with the book. 

Until next time.......Linda

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

This Is Crazy !

I just dug out a sweatshirt and a couple pair of jeans, socks and loafer type shoes to pack for the cruise.  And it's 92* in my house right now.........But if I don't take them, you all know what will happen.        Linda

Finally Going to Trial

Some of you will remember when I wrote about the shooting at the Tacoma Mall.  I was actually involved in the traffic jam around the mall area trying to get home from church that Sunday morning back in November 2005.

Well, the alleged shooter is finally going to trial. Yesterday the prosecutors and defense attorney's began the process of seating a jury...16 people out of a pool of 116 potential jurors. There will be 12 main jurors and 4 alternates.  The actual trial is scheduled to begin August 27th and could last for at least a month.  Dominick Maldanado, now age 21 is charged with 15 crimes, including first-degree attempted murder, multiple counts of first-degree assault, and kidnapping.  He of course has pleaded not guilty and intends to present a mental health defense.   One thing good is that he's been jailed since his arrest, so hasn't been out running around the area, perhaps committing other crimes.

I've seen the man that Maldanado allegedly shot in the spine around town (he goes to the same doctor's clinic I go to) , as I remember he's paralyzed from the waist down and of course is confined to a wheel chair. I will say that each time I've seen this dear man, he always seems cheerful and has a smile on his face.  Having a daughter who's wheelchair bound (she had a stroke 3 months after her 40th birthday), I know how depressing that life can be

I'm sure this trial will be difficult for all his victims, after almost 2 years having to relive the terror filled day, they innocently went to the mall to do some shopping.

I knew this trial was coming up...It's been a year & a half since I've been summoned for jury I'm glad I didn't get the notice for this one.  But, unfortunately there are some more serious cases coming and I'm due for that special notice to arrive in my mail box anytime.

Ok, back to packing.........Linda

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

OK, Somebody Out There, Please Do Me A Favor..

I just finished watching "America's Got Talent"  They are down to the final four contestants and I think they said the last show is next Tuesday, August 21st.  Since I won't have access to TV, will somebody pleeeeeeze watch it and then email me and tell me who won? (  Ok fantastic, mark it on your calendar so you don't forget....Thank you, I knew I could count on you..... :)


I'm Down To The Wire

There's only two more full days at home before we make our way 30 miles north to Seattle Friday morning.  My son decided he wanted a special casserole that I make, for his birthday dinner instead of going out.  So he came over this afternoon for a home cooked meal made by his mom.  I bought a couple of those little squares of cake (2 different kinds) at the Safeway bakery and I had ice cream on hand so he had a complete birthday candles & no singing however. 

I had to run by the vet's office today & get an Advantage treatment for Gabi.  She's strictly an indoor cat but has been scratching so bad, I thought maybe I tracked in a flea or two on my shoes or clothes.   I gave her a bath yesterday (quite an ordeal even with a 5 pound cat~she is very strong) but that didn't seem to help.  Hopefully, the Advantage will do the job.  After I get home, she's going into the vet's office for a "spa treatment."  They sedate the cat, give them a shampoo, blow dry, clean their ears, clip their toenails, give them any shots they need and check their teeth.  Then they give them a little shot, to wake them up and they are fluffy & clean & don't have a clue what happened.  Meanwhile, while she's at her spa day, I'll bomb the house so I wipe out any critters that might attack her again.  This is a first for poor little Gabi since she's lived with me...but the receptionist at the vet's office said this has been a really bad year for fleas. I feel just horrible, because I vacuum everyother day, to help cut down the risk of fleas but I guess this year it didn't work. She's going to be cared for by Jim while I'm gone, so by then the critters should be gone.

Wednesday I'll be dragging clothes out of my closet, trying to figure out what to take and what to leave home. I didn't buy anything new this year...I bought several summer outfits last year, took them with me & couldn't wear them because the temperatures didn't get above 65* except for the one day I was sicker than a dog and spent most of the day in my cabin.  Some of those outfits I've still never worn.

Thursday will be laundry & finish the packing day.  I like to have all my laundry done, even things I'm not taking when I go away.  I always do things like change my sheets before I leave, vacuum, etc. so I can come home to a clean house.  Hopefully, Thursday evening my bag will be packed and I can just relax, get a good nights sleep and get up Friday morning, eat some breakfast and when Bob gets here we'll blast off for Seattle.

Lanny.....I'm getting about you ? 

 I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an easy commute to Seattle (supposed to be down to one  lane open thru the construction zone, for thru traffic & one lane on the right which is an exit lane) and a sunny "sailaway."  We are scheduled to leave the dock in  Seattle at 4pm Friday.  The Seattle skyline is so beautiful, especially from the rails of a 917 foot long cruise ship.

Sorry I haven't been around to visit journals the last few days, I've just been so swamped.  It doesn't mean I'm not thinking about you all...because I am.  Well, that's all for now...until next time.......Linda

Monday, August 13, 2007

Only 4 more days !

Four days from now I'll be on the ship...oh my gosh I'm getting excited.  The people who are in my cabin, this week spent today tramping around Skagway today.  I got a pedicure this afternoon, of course when you're going to Alaska, you  never knows if you'll be wearing summer sandals or fur lined boots.  But that's ok..I'm prepared. 

The weather warmed up here today and they are suggesting we might get a light rain on Friday.  I hope not, because the skyline of Seattle is so beautiful on a sunny day so I'm hoping for warm sunny weather Friday afternoon for our "Sail Away." 

My suitcase is out, open and resting on a chair in the dining room.  I've got to go thru my clothes and pack a little smarter this year.  Last year, I took 1 pair of jeans and all the rest were summer clothes.  This year, I'll do it the other way around.  More long pants and very few summer clothes. Juneau has been running around 65 degrees the last few weeks.  Which for us here in the Pacific Northwest is not cold, just a little cool.  But the weather up there is very unpredictable, so I need to be better prepared this year.

We're still unsure about the traffic conditions between here and Seattle due to the closure of several lanes on I-5 for construction.  Bob is taking a friend up to the University of Washington medical center for a 9am appointment Tuesday morning, so I guess he'll get a first hand look at the situation.  Right now we're planning on driving to Bob's brother's house in West Seattle, leaving my car there and his brother will take us to the ship and pick us up the following Friday morning.

Miss Gabi got a bath today and she was not happy about it.  She's been shedding so bad, I decided to take matters into my own hand and bathe her.  So 3 hours later, she's still grooming herself and giving me the "evil eye." I was just trying to make her feel better.......LOL

 Probably Thursday night (or sooner)  I'll be turning alerts off.  I'm way behind in reading journals now because of a situation with my monitor (and that's another story) so I could not access email from Sunday about noon until this afternoon.    Well folks, that's all for now...have a good evening/morning (depending on which continent you live on)..until next time,        Linda  & a scraggly looking Miss Gabi

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Oh, those were the good old days....

My daughter, Julie, sent me this link to a YouTube video of  Foster Brooks and Dean Martin here's another one;

Why can't TV once again be like it was back in the 1960's, 70's & 80's ?   You could come home from work, eat dinner and sit and relax.....relax with great comedy & musical shows....Dean Martin, Carol Burnett, Laugh In...the list goes on and on.  I feel 90% of the shows today leave much to be desired.  I guess that's why I find myself watching "M*A*S*H," "Seinfeld" & "Everybody Loves Raymond" reruns. 

The AOL home page and the news broadcasts are running the news of the passing of Merv Griffin.  There was another TV great.  Creating two very long running shows, "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune"   He was a very creative and talented man.

Well, my break is over....I'm still trying to sort thru the carport sale stuff.  One box for the thrift shop and the rest to be kept and put away.  And the boxes of books that I'll take to Half Price books in exchange for a little cash.

I was just thinking that a week from today, we'll be tramping around Juneau.  I've called the quilt shop I visited there last year and asked them to hold some fabric for me....a gift for my grand daughter.   The temperature has been running about 65* much like what we've been experiencing here in the Pacific Northwest, thelast few weeks.  So at least we won't have a drastic climate change.  Last year at this time, we'd gone 90 days with no measurable rain and unusually high temperature.  So I packed all these "summer" clothes and wore the same two pair of jeans all week.  This year I'm packing differently.....  :)

Enjoy the YouTube video, until next time.......Linda

Saturday, August 11, 2007

August 12, 1971

36 years ago on August 12th a 9-1/2 pound baby boy came into this world.  These were the days before ultrasounds, etc so when babies were born it was always a surprise.  At the time..I really wanted another girl.  I didn't really have anything against little boys, after all I'd had a little brother.  But I knew if I had a boy, I wanted him to be a "full of life, on the go, energetic, non stop except when sleeping" little boy.  And quite frankly, I didn't feel I was up to that.  However, my husband jokingly said all along that if it was a girl, I'd have to come home from the hospital in a cab...he wanted a boy!  I remember when I was in the delivery room , my doctor asked me what we were hoping for.  I told him,  I wanted a girl but that my husband said if it was a girl, I'd have to take a cab home.  As the baby was delivered, he said to one of the nurses.."you'd better go tell that dad to keep the car running because he has a son."   Not for one second after that moment, have I ever been sorry that on that day, at 9:10am I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. He turned out to be the non stop, energetic little boy I was afraid to have, he kept us hopping...but he grew up, calmed down and has been the light of my life for 36 years. Actually, both my daughter, Julie and my son, Jim have been the best kids a mom could ever have.  They both did well in school, were never in any trouble and they have both been good to me.  Jim was the only grandson my folks ever had and they both adored him, too.  My dad even signed over his old pickup truck to Jimmy on his 16th birthday...his first set of wheels. He had a job washing dishes at Denney's and needed the truck to get back & forth to school and work. He later got a dishwashing job at a University just a few blocks from my house.  Everyday when I came home from work, there'd be bread crumbs along with peanut butter & jam smudges on my kitchen counter...he'd fixed an after school, before work snack.  Jim's always been a hard worker, even as a kid, before age 16...he was mowing lawns and doing whatever he could to make money.  He went into the Air Force in October of 1989, 8 weeks after his 18th birthday.  It was the first time he'd ever been away from home like that.  I remember when he went to San Antonio for basic training, when they finally let him call me, he called very late one night and he was so home sick.  He cried & I cried that night on the phone....I felt so sorry for him.  But he made it.   And he did good. I remember the first letter I got telling me of him being chosen Airman of the Month,  I was so proud.   When he got out of the Air Force, he got a job within  3 weeks at a large printing company here in town.  He's worked as a press operator all these years, except for about a year after he hurt his hand in the machinery.  After a couple surgeries to repair his hand he held a job in the radiology file room at the hospital where he was born (also where I was born & worked for over 25 years). He has been back to work, printing now for almost 3 years.  His one big dream is to fly, he took some flying lessons for awhile but they are very expensive.  I hope someday he can complete the lessons and get his pilot's license. I look at this son of mine and I think of all the years that have gone by, all the circumstances we survived, how he's changed from a precious chunky baby, into a 6'2" man.....a man who has a gentle heart, a man who loves the Lord, a man who would love to find a sweet woman, and settle down  and have a family.  And I thank God, that I've had the privilege of being his mother all these years.  Happy birthday my son, I love you !

And I don't want to forget my son-in-law and Bob's daughter, Hope.....both of them are also having a birthday August 12th.  Two more very special people in my life.  Happy Birthday !

Until next time.........Linda

P.S. I couldn't get the picture edit thingy to work to make the small pictures bigger, sorry about that.  :(


Friday, August 10, 2007


Thursday, August 9, 2007


For those of you in the mid-west and the east coast of this great country, who are sweltering in the oppressive heat; I've tried this, when it get's unbearably hot here in the Pacific Northwest (we always have the humidity issue no matter what the weather).....get out some Christmas CD's and put them on full  blast and sing along.  See if that helps you cool down.  I've been know to drive around town on a blistering hot day, singing "Jingle Bells" with the CD, at the top of my lungs.   Try it...see if it works.  It can't hurt, that's for sure.......  Linda


Weekend Assignment #178 from John : It's hot. Everywhere. Really hot. Counteract it with a cool and refreshing photo or story of winter. Yes, we've done something like this before. And, if you recall, it worked. Also, it's easy and it's too hot to do anything complicated. So let's do it again (just, you know, don't reuse stuff that you've already posted along this line before).

Extra Credit: Would you rather be too hot or too cold?

Here's my pictures; snow, snow and more snow. EXTRA CREDIT:  I would rather be cold because you can always crawl in bed & turn up the electric blanket or put more wood in the wood store.  Hardly anybody here in the Pacific Northwest has A/C in their houses because we just have a few months of warm weather and it rarely gets about 90* or so.  So we have fans, fans everywhere, in every room of the house.  I even have a summer fan in my electric forced air furnace, when I turn it on air (not necessarily real cool air however) comes out of all the floor registers.  It at least helps move the air around in each room of the house. 


I got this one from one of the Cybersalt emails I receive daily;


The Millers were shown into the dentist's office, where Mr. Miller made it clear he was in a big hurry.

"No expensive extras, Doctor," he ordered.  "No gas or needles or any of that fancy stuff. Just pull the tooth and get it over with."

"I wish more of my patients were as stoic as you," said the dentist admiringly. "Now, which tooth is it?"

Mr. Miller turned to his wife...

"Show him your tooth, Honey."

When Your Huts On Fire

Here's another one from my friend Lynnette.  This one is a little more serious than the last two.   Thanks Lynnette for sending this to's a good reminder.


The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Everyday he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger.

He cried out, "God ! How could you do this to me?"
Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! "How did you  know I was here?," asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

 The Moral of This Story:

It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives...even in the midst of our pain and suffering.

Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Thanks again to my friend Lynnette for this one.  I remember the great TV show Hollywood you?  It's for sure some of their candid answers were a little risque back when the program began in the late 1960's.   Linda

If you remember the Original Hollywood Squares and its comics, this may bring a tear to your eyes.  These great questions and answers are from the days when " Hollywood Squares" game show responses were spontaneous, not scripted, as they are now. Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions, of course.
Q. Do female frogs croak?
A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.

Q. If you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be?
A. Charley Weaver:  Three days of steady drinking should do it.

Q. True or False, a pea can last as long as 5,000 years.
A. George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.

Q. You've been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?
A. Don Knotts: That's what's been keeping me awake.

Q. According to Cosmopolitan, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think that he is attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he's married?
A. Rose Marie: No; wait until morning.

Q. Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older?
A. Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.

Q. In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say "I Love You"?
A. Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.

Q. What are "Do It," "I Can Help," and "I Can't Get Enough"?
A. George Gobel: I don't know, but it's coming from the next apartment.

Q. As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while talking?
A. Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing old question Peter, and I'll give you a gesture you'll never forget.

Q. Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather?
A.  Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.

Q. Charley, you've just decided to grow strawberries.  Are you going to get any during the first year?
A.  Charley Weaver: Of course not, I'm too busy growing strawberries.
Q. In bowling, what's a perfect score?
A.  Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.
Q. It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps.
One is politics, what is the other?
A.  Paul Lynde: Tape measures.

Q. During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet?
A.  Rose Marie: Unfortunately Peter, I'm always safe in the bedroom.
Q. Can boys join the Camp Fire Girls?
A.  Marty Allen: Only after lights out.
Q. When you pat a dog on its head he will wag his tail.  What will a goose do?
A.  Paul Lynde: Make him bark?

Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?
A.  Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.

Q. According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?
A.  Charley Weaver: It got me out ofthe army.

 Q. It is the most abused and neglected part of your body, what is it?
 A.!   Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused, but it certainly isn't neglected.

 Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head,
 what was he trying to do?
 A.  George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

Q. Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?
A.  Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?

Q. When a couple have a baby, who is responsible for its sex?
A.  Charley Weaver: I'll lend him the car, the rest is up to him.
Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has
actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they?
A.  Charley Weaver: His feet.

Q. According  to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed?
A.  Paul Lynde: Point and laugh.


Thanks to my friend Lynnette for this email with helpful diet information;


"Last week I went to the doctor for my yearly physical. My blood pressure was high, my cholesterol was high, I'd gained some weight, and I didn't feel so hot. 
My doctor said eating right doesn't have to be complicated and it
would solve my physical problems.

He said just think in colors; Fill your plate with bright colors;
greens, yellows, reds, etc.

I went right home and ate an entire bowl of M&M's and sure enough, I felt better immediately.

I never knew eating right could be so easy."

Monday, August 6, 2007

Well, the news is good.

I went to the doctor this morning and good news !! Apparently there's no torn meniscus in my knee.  She believes it's just a sprained ligament that goes around my knee.  She recommended I take it easy, keep using the ice pack from time to time, keep wearing the brace, take the anti inflammatory's and it should gradually get better.   I did go to Curves after visiting the doctor but only used the machines that didn't involve my legs.  Then I went to Fred Meyer grocery shopping but that was an ordeal.  By the time I got home, got the groceries in the house and put everything away, I was ready for the ice bag and a couple Tylenol

I still have all the boxes of stuff sitting around from the sale.  But I'm going to take my time putting it away.  I want to baby my knee because it's only 11 days until we sail away.  I don't care if this stuff is still sitting here when I get home...eventually it will get put away.

Speaking of my car port sale...yesterday I got an email from an AOL journaler (who shall remain nameless), who lives about 60 miles north of me and she said that her and this other AOL journaler (who shall also remain nameless) were considering "sneaking up" on me at my sale.  But the one who lives here in my area was busy all weekend , so they didn't make it.  Well, this morning I saw the one that lives here in my town...I laughingly told her I had heard of their plan...apparently a camera was going to be involved if they would  have made it over to my house.  Oh...some of these AOL Journalers are sneaky people. Actually, I wish they could have come over...that would have been fun!   Lanny, I think you know both of them...

Well, I hope to start reading journals again.  I need to do some heavy duty catching up.  And hopefully I can catch up and get somethings down around here too.

  I have three brithday's comeing up this weekend...all on the same day, August son will be 36, my son-in law will be 52 and Bob's daughter, Hope,  in Pasadena will be 41.  My son & SIL are local but we need to get a package off to Hope in the next day or so. And Bob's so proud of himself.  Hope has been wanting the DVD of "The African Queen" and hasn't been able to find it anywhere.  And believe me she knows where to look.  Well, we were able to order it at the local Fred Meyer Store and he recieved it in the mail other day. So now it's just a matter of getting it wrapped ,added to a couple goodies we got for her and getting it mailed.

Our town is starting the new "red light" camera enforcement. I don't know about where you live but I have seen as many as 4 or 5 cars going thru a red light at some intersections.  Law enforcement will send warning letters to those who go thru red lights for now but starting September 4th, those warning letters will be replaced with tickets for $101 for each offense. I'm glad they are finally cracking down on this very dangerous habit.

I hope everyone had a good weekend.....Linda