camp awesum

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IMG_6143Camp Awesum. Monday morning.

Independence. Julia wants it. I think she is ready for some. The question is always how to arrange it and keep her safe. An opportunity at camp has arisen.

There is coffee in the mornings starting at 6:30, breakfast is not until 8:30. I made it down for coffee at 7:30. Before I left the cabin, I told Julia, mostly asleep, that I would telephone her. Hopefully, she will wake up, get out of bed and start getting dressed.

I called, explained what I wanted and she wanted to meet me by the beach, dressed and ready for breakfast. T minus 15 minutes. Continue reading

Maine

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IMG_1870After Shyla’s wedding, Julia and I hopped a quick flight to Bangor, Maine, to spend most of a week with madison friends. Stephanie and Hope have a extremely sweet cabin on a lake.  There is no electricity and the first night I was a stunned by the dark, but Julia and I soon got used to living in the light and sleeping in the dark.  Gas powers the fridge, the stove and the water heater for hot showers.  Everything else battery powered and so, needed to be thought about before turning on.  We learned a few new games, put a puzzle together in record time, explored a little bit of Maine and ate great food curtesy of Stephanie’s skills and some lovely, simple restaurants. Continue reading

wedding

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My niece, Shyla, and her long time partner, Ben, married on Saturday, August 5.  They have known each other for ten years beating our family record that David and I set knowing each other for six years before we married.  It was an intimate wedding at the home she grew up in.  Her brother and his wife who now live in that house generously gave their house and lives over to wedding preparations and festivities for a week.  Julia, Cheshire and I came in early to help with the setup and decorations.

Julia had her first real manicure and pedicure. Continue reading

getting out of my way

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IMG_1641Six hours at the Dane County Airport waiting for weather to clear in Newark, New Jersey, to take for a short, direct flight is enough to make anyone a bit of a philosopher. That or go nuts. Because I bought this summer’s tickets with credit card points and used the voucher we got in January, I sprung for flying out of our little, low key facility. Lines are short, seats plentiful but there are fewer food choices and what there is comes with NYC prices.

Julia did all her home work and her puzzle exercises and some extra of each. She worked on coloring a new dragon picture in her art app. If her cello had been here, we would have gotten in a good practice. Now, she is listening to music on her phone and watching videos of kids dancing and singing. She has not even cracked the sketch book or dot to dot book. The kid has learned to wait. She is developing patience. Continue reading

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, Canada

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IMG_5699Arriving in Victoria, Canada. Crispy but not as cold as Alaska.  We spent our time ashore at the Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, located near Victoria on Vancouver Island. I had heard about the Gardens long ago and I am so pleased we got to see it on a sunny day.  It was crowded which only tickled me more.  What could be nicer than enjoying a garden with many, many others intent on taking in such a glorious site. Continue reading

Skagway

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No snow!

25 July 2017. Our next port of call was Skagway, a small town of under a thousand people, a population that doubles in the summer to work the tourist trade.  Big cruise ships like ours are the usually visitors.  And so, three to five thousand people stop by for the day.  We docked with another big ship and we all flooded off our floating fortresses to walk the boardwalk streets and find adventure.

The center of town is only a few blocks long and fewer wide.  It is well painted and well kept.  One peculiarity of our two Alaskan ports was the number of jewelry shops featuring diamonds that each town held.  Do people really buy expensive jewelry on vacation? Continue reading

Glacier Bay

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IMG_5588Early on the morning of the 25th, our very huge ship crept into Glacier Bay and stopped. There was an eerie silence which replaced the constant hum of the motor that I had stopped be conscious of hearing.  We could hear the water lapping against the ship but it was a small and quiet sound.  Julia and I had not woken up to see the approach to Glacier Bay, but right after we stopped, we dressed hurriedly and stood out on our balcony.  Had we not had a balcony, it would have been truly fine to share the sight with others on an open deck, but we didn’t need to share at all.  It was like being alone with magnificence.  We stood, watching, taking pictures in awe and wonder.

Then the motors started again and the boat began to turn in more than one complete circle before we left the bay. Continue reading

Juneau

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Juneau from across the Gastineau Channel on Douglas Island

We landed in Juneau at noon and started out first land excursion an hour later.  I bought a non-cruise line tour from viator.com and our experience was very good.  The drivers of the buses and boat were knowledgable about their city and what they hoped to show us.  We had a short tour of the city which was followed by a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier where we explored by ourselves.  Favorite facts about the city include that  there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of Alaska or to the rest of North America.  Residents and visitor get to the city by water or air.  Also, The settlement was founded by Joe Juneau and Richard Harris, and was originally called Harrisburg after a vote by the miners.  According to one of our guides, Juneau was not happy with the result.  He waited until Harris was out of town, treated the miners at the local pub, called for another vote and registered the result in DC.  If the story is not true, it is still a good one and a good reminder the politics have not really gotten any better or worse. Continue reading

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Alaskan inside passage

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29 July 2017: We did not have an internet connection that allowed for posting to Chasing Joy during the cruise.  So, over the next few days I’ll be posting pictures from our travels. I groused about the lack of internet and was quite grumpy about it.  The IT guy was generally unhelpful, promising something better each day which he failed to deliver.  Had internet been free, I would have had little reason to complain but internet packages are pricy and I had sprung for both internet and streaming.  Needless to say, we never streamed anything. Finally, on day five, I cancelled the service.

23 July 2017: After a day cruising up to Juneau via the Inside Passage.

Privilege. Privileged.

This morning I ordered room service for breakfast, wanting to avoid another pass at breakfast buffet madness.   Fruit plate, an orange, blueberry muffins, bagel with cream cheese. Coffee for me and a glass of lactose free milk for Julia.  Julia asked if she could really eat in bed.  I pulled up a comfy chair to sit in front of our balcony.  It is cold on the balcony and although we have blankets, I cannot get julia to enjoy the cold balcony. Continue reading

water & wake

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IMG_5325Embarkation: Yes! Sleep was better. Overtired and late night food—Julia’s choice of chicken strips and fries which were, I admit, superior but not conducive to sleep—and Wisconsin morning time were our challenges yesterday. Today, my eyes are open and julia is bushy tailed.

We are ready early. Kinda’ a theme of this traveling which is not without benefit. We are up, showered, breakfasted and re-packed and still have almost an hour til the shuttle to the ship. Julia’s smallish anxieties about the ‘boat’ have eased. We’ve talked a lot about the size of the ship. Continue reading