My Alaska Trip

I recently got back from 10 days in Alaska and Vancouver.  My husband and I have always wanted to go to Alaska, and I finally decided to book it, tired of continually saying “maybe next year.”

It was so worth every minute and every penny!  We stopped in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan.  My favorite port was probably Skagway, and the husband liked Ketchikan the best.  Juneau was both of our least favorite port, though still great.  I learned a lot of interesting things, did some great relaxing, saw new things, met new people, and came home rested and recharged.

I took notes on my vacation, mostly so I could remember the cool stuff I learned and what I did each day. I could give you a blow by blow account of that, but I’m sure no one actually wants to read that. Do you remember when, in school, you had to write an essay about “My Summer Vacation”? This won’t be that.  I’ll just hit the highlights.  🙂

Our cruise was 7 days to Alaska by way of Vancouver. Although Canada is very nice, going in and out of customs 4 times was a bit of a hassle. Both US and Canadian customs were efficient and pleasant, but I prefer to avoid lines when I can. Bottom line, if you’re traveling from the US, just leave from Seattle. It would be so much easier.

Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan were all fishing towns at one time, though Juneau gets most of its revenue from being the political center these days. We saw whales, bears, bald eagles, huge mutant mosquitoes, and glaciers. I went specifically to see the wildlife and glaciers, and I left satisfied.

In Juneau, we went whale watching, and got to see humpback whales and sea lions while we boated around a bay surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

Whale tail

Whale tail

I also hiked to the Mendenhall Glacier.  There’s nothing else quite like standing close to a glacier.

Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier

In Skagway, we took the train down and around the mountain.  It was exhilarating, as in some of the places, it was barely big enough for the tracks.  On one side, I could have reached out and touched rock, but on the other side, it was almost straight down.  That was a pretty packed day, as it’s also the day we went to Liarsville, saw Okie Bob’s show, and had the best salmon of our entire trip.

Abord the White Pass Railway

Abord the White Pass Railway

In between Skagway and Ketchikan, we cruised up to Tracy Arm.  We had fortuitous weather, as we were able to get right up to the glacier.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  We were lucky enough to see the glacier calve, and I’ve never heard anything like the sound the ice makes as it’s breaking up.  It’s like a thousand thunderstorms.

Tracy Arm Glacier... yes, it really is that blue

Tracy Arm Glacier… yes, it really is that blue

In Ketchikan, we went bear watching and had a great hike through the temperate rainforest.  Bears are pretty great!  I didn’t know that Alaska has a lot of rainforest, a lot of volcanoes, and a number of earthquakes.  Now that I’m a bit older, I enjoy learning things on vacation.

Hello, bears!

Hello, bears!

A cruise is a great mix of relaxing and activity (if you book excursions). The first time I took a cruise, I thought it was a bit too slow for my vacationing preference, but this time around, I really paid more attention to it, and I just loved it. I think that’s going to be my ideal way of vacationing now.

See how the water is splashing up in the pool?  Seas were a bit rough that day!

See how the water is splashing up in the pool? Seas were a bit rough that day!

I’ll be uploading a video of a glacier calving to my Facebook page, if you’re interested.

What I’ve Been Reading and Watching

DSCN3088I’ve been on vacation his last week, and I’ve been trying to relax.  I’ve gotten a lot done, which is a good thing.  Partly I’ve gotten a lot done because I haven’t allowed myself to start any books.  When I read, if I like the book, I get very obsessive and can’t tear myself away from it.  I can lose hours that way.

I don’t usually watch much TV, but since I’ve been home with the husband, we’ve watched a few things.

1.  The Double- Starring Richard Gere, this is a spy thriller, and a very good movie.  It’s fast paced, and though the plot was predictable (to me), there was a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming.  Very entertaining.

2.  The Factory- Starring John Cusak and Jennifer Carpenter, this got mostly lousy reviews, but I loved it.  A man is kidnapping young prostitutes, and they disappear.  John Cusak is the cop obsessed with catching the kidnapper, but when his daughter is kidnapped, it goes to a whole ‘nother level.  Plus, you’ll never guess the motive of the kidnapper.  I highly recommend it.

3.  The Grey- Excellent acting by Liam Neeson makes this movie really great.  After a plane crashes in Alaska, the survivors realize they have to move from the wreck site as killer wolves attack.  While this isn’t in any way an uplifting movie, it’s worth watching.

4.  The Expendables 2-  Lots of stuff blows up.  There’s not much plot, but it’s a lot of fun and has just about every action star that ever was in it.  What did you expect?

5.  Mystery Men- 1999 is calling and they want their movie back.  My husband and I may have been the only two people anywhere who liked this movie.  but he’s not as enthusiastic about it now that he’s rewatched it.  I still think it was fun.


1.  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon- I know this book as been out for a few years, but I never got around to reading it.  The book starts off with the neighbor’s dog being murdered, which was hard for me to read.  It’s narrated by a young man with autism who is determined to find the dog’s killer.  The book is fast paced, engaging, and funny.  It’s worth reading once, though I won’t be buying it.

Yes, I’ve seriously only read one book this week.  When I’m in the mood to read something, I’ve been reading Chicken Soup for the Soul online.  They have some great short stories, but even better, I don’t lose the whole day, engrossed in something.

Judging a Book… And Other Lessons

I’ve had an interesting day today, and I’ve only been awake for three hours.  I feel like I’ve crammed much more productivity and relaxing than I actually have into the last three hours.  Yes, both.  It got me to thinking that maybe it isn’t how much I do or what I do, but how I perceive it.  I was actually surprised when I realized I’ve only been up for three hours.  Maybe it’s time for an attitude adjustment.  Maybe rather than whining about how I’m pressed for time, maybe I can take a step back and realize that sometimes I’ve done as much as I could in those hours.  Whatever the reason for my feeling so relaxed and good, I’ll take it!

One of the things I did this morning was go out for breakfast and read a really good book.  I’ll get to reviewing the book on Saturday, but the focus of this blog is something else.  You know how they say, “You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover”?  Well, I do it all the time, figuratively and literally.  I pick books by authors first based on the cover.  If it catches my eye, then I read the back and see if I’m interested.  There are many good books I’m sure I’ve passed over based on a disinteresting title.  I “judge” people, at least first impression wise, based on how they look, how they’re dressed, their posture, what kind of accessories they’re carrying/ wearing.

Today, I had an experience that made me wonder how often I’m wrong.

I went out to breakfast, and the hostess was a much older woman.  She was tall and thin with brittle, bleach blonde hair in a ponytail.  Her creased face was a roadmap, caked with foundation.  When I first saw her, she wore a pinched expression on her face, and my immediate thought was, “She’s going to be a real b***h.”  When she looked up and saw me walk in, her entire face changed.  Just like that, her smile took 10 years off her face and changed my entire view of her.  She was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and had an infectious laugh that would have cheered me up if I’d started off in a bad mood.

I’m grateful to her for reminding me what I already knew: You can judge a book by its cover, but you’re going to be wrong at least as often as you’re right.  The problem is that you’ll rarely find out when you’re wrong.

It was nice to be wrong today.