getting out of my way

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


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

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 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 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

Alaskan inside passage

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

land of lupines

img_1138We drove up to Ashland, WI, during the weekend, a short trip to go to a memorial service.  I’ve not been that far north and although the weather was wet, damp, then rainy and rather cold, there were trees to drive through and lake beaches to walk on. I fell into writing about where Julia is this summer which I’ll post separately.

I loved getting out of Madison!  Apart from a very few quick trips to the Chicago burbs, its been months since we’ve left. I love Madison but I crave travel. Driving up north was unexpectedly satisfying. Quiet, gray, rolling hills, lots of evergreen trees and water.  The lake looking so vast that a casual observer might mistake it for a sea. And the lupines! I have not driven through a landscape of wild lupines.  Like in Barbara Cooney’s story of Alice Rumphius, a kid’s book I haven’t thought about in years. The lupines were beautiful. Someone at the memorial said they were invasive. It may be wrong but I wish to be invaded by lupines.  I stopped by the side of the road more than once trying unsuccessfully to capture what I saw.

The lupines were worth the drive. Continue reading

movin’ may

4:00 p.m.: I’ve spent the day in the garden beds, digging up the last of the bulbs in the front terrace beds, transplanting ajuga from those same beds to the side in front of the fence.  This is a place where the worst weeds grow. Ugly, ugly, ugly.  I planted ajuga on the fence line last fall.  About a third of it took, so I’m trying again. Cutting back spent bulb plantings and weeding just a tiny bit. I have some mighty incredible weeds after our week of rain.

Julia is working on cover art for a class project while she listens to music. Kid bob mostly with a bit of classic rock mixed in. “I just love ‘Thriller,’” she tells me. How can I not smile indulgently?

For the cover art, Julia sketched the old fashion way and then transferred her drawings to an iPad app for coloring.  When finished, the enhanced drawings will all go into a collage app to be arranged on a background and titles. For a child who stumbles over simple directions, she has figured most of this out by herself. When she’s run into problems and asks me, which surprisingly she is doing with more regularity, she is patient as I figure the problem out and usually fully understands my solution about half way through my explanation. Continue reading