Saturday, August 29, 2009

Vacation, part five- at sea, Victoria, and Seattle

Wednesday, August 19, was a sea day. We had our usual breakfast in the dining room. It was neat the way they seated people- they filled tables as people came in, so you always ended up with different people. The tables seated about 10. So over the course of the week, we talked to people from all over. Steph went off for a massage, and Manda and I watched a towel folding demo by some of the cabin stewards. The man with the microphone is the cruise director, Keith.
They did about 10 animals foldings, and ended up with the swan hearts, and gave out a little brochure on towel folding- in case any of us wanted to fold towels at home. Then Manda and I went off to another scrapbooking class, this one in the Viking Lounge at the top of the ship. We'd never scrapbooked before the cruise, and we had a lot of fun.
Thursday was the second formal night. I had wildberry soup, sirloin steak, and whiskey raison cake. Linda had these wing-y things that she'd gotten at a beach festival, and they were playing with them. They fold up flat, like a fan, and are all little pleats.
Steph had to give it a go. I didn't have any big urge to play with them.
Linda really got into it, and went dancing later. She said about ten women ended up trying the wings, and she could have sold a lot of sets. She was giving out the contact info for the maker.
Steph, me and Manda.
Steph and Manda. Every time I took a pic I'd have to tell Manda to open her eyes! We went to the evening's show, which was ballroom dancing. There was a couple of professional dancers who were fabulous. They danced almost faster than the eye could follow!

Thursday's port was Victoria, BC. Manda and Steph went on an excursion to Buchert Gardens, and they took gorgeous pix. I was sorry I didn't go there. Linda and I went on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour. We did the whole loop of that beautiful city, and on the second loop she got out and did some touring. I didn't feel that great, so I went back to the ship.

Dinner that night was peach soup, pineapple, prime rib (there was lobster, but I'm allergic), and a dessert sampler. We went to a show which featured an Argentinian group, and was really nice. Then back to the room to pack.Every day I was scribbling notes to myself, or I'd never remember what we did on what day.

Friday morning we were up and in the theater by 0700. We were carrying our luggage off, and were the first group to leave the ship. They started disembarking at 0715, and we were in the shuttle to the airport by 0800. Back at Sea-Tac by 0900 and saying goodbye to Linda, who had her RV parked at a hotel near the airport. We went thru security and had breakfast, and shopped at Borders and some cute stores for awhile. We split up at 1100 so Manda could go to her gate and Steph and I to ours. Our flight left Sea-Tac at 12.30, and was delayed getting into Minneapolis because they were down a runway. That airport is huge! And of course our flight to Philly was as far as it could be away. The flight was delayed because of storms inPhilly, so we had time to find our gate and get something to eat, and change my watch.

We got into Philly at 1130 pm local time. Three time zones! Kate was kind enough to pick us up at the airport. It was really nice to get home and see Ralph and Toast. The whole vacation was wonderful, and I'm so glad we went. We're talking about doing it again in two years.


Vacation, part four- Ketchikan

Tuesday, August 18 we made port in Ketchikan. It wasn't on our schedule, but because we couldn't get into Skagway, the captain and staff made arrangements for Ketchikan to be substituted. The staff all told us that Ketchikan is more fun for shopping, as it's bigger. None of the excusions appealed to any of us, so we just got on the free bus and rode around, then shopped. I don't know that I would go to Ketchikan for a Harley!
Manda and Steph, ready to tour and shop! We had all planned on excursions in Skagway, so that part was disappointing, but of course we weren't charged for them. And every store we were in, the people were talking about how there was an extra ship in port- we were #4.
That's our ship behind me. The weather was in the 70's, clear, and just gorgeous. It made up for the awful weather at sea.
There were several horse drawn tour trolleys. All of the drivers had husky's up front with them. I hadn't looked up quilt shops in Ketchikan, since we weren't scheduled for there, but luckily, the Silver Thimble advertised on the trolley! I was about to do some shopping, and they shipped it home for me.
The views were so gorgeous! We tended to have changing groups of us. This day, Linda went off on her own to see a museum, Steph was wandering, and Manda and I stayed together.
Coming from flat south jersey, I loved looking up at the mountain views.
We joined up with Steph for lunch onboard- why pay for food in town when shipboard food is part of our package? We're on the top deck of the Rhapsody looking over the harbor. I can't stand that close to the rail!
Looking over the outdoor pool. The pools are saltwater, from the bay/ocean and heated. The jacuzzi's are freshwater.
Looking down over the harbor.
The town, looking down from the deck.
Part of the town is across the harbor, and accessible only by boat. We saw a lot of seaplanes taking off and landing.
Dinner that night was pumpkin soup (I didn't care for it), raspberry/mango soup, and a turkey dinner, and key lime pie. The sunset was gorgeous, and the wind was kicking up.
And when we got back to the cabin, a monkey was hanging around!

I'll be back for the last part of the vacation!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Vacation, part three- Juneau

Sunday we docked in Juneau. The sea was rough, and it took the captain longer than anticipated to dock. Steph went off on a hike with a group, and Manda, Linda and I went on a bus trip to Glacier Gardens and the Mendenhall Glacier. The plants about were part of the gardens.
That's Manda in front of some flowers- southeastern Alaska is actually part of a rain forest!
There's a waterfall in the back of this picture, and a pond.
It was drizzley, so we all had windbreakers over sweatshirts. Temp was in the 50-60's.
They took us up the mountain in trams and golf carts. Devil's claw leaves are covered with tiny stickers and the guide told us they are quite painful. They also said that 2 of every 3 Alaskan blueberries have worms! The Alaskans soak them in salt water to bring out the worms before eating them. We decided we'll pass on Alaskan blueberries!
I never expected to see ferns in Alaska!
The view from the top of the mountain. On a clear day, it's supposed to be spectacular. That day, not so much.
We were way, way up the mountain!
Then the bus took us to see Mendenhall Glacier. There were people kayaking, and they got blown so far out that a motorboat had to go rescue them! Another view that would be spectacular except for the weather.
Another view of the glacier and icebergs. When we got back the ship, we skipped going into Juneau- it was just too rainy and dreary to shop. Dinner that night was strawberry soup, tomato and mozzarrella salad, veggie chili, and tiramasu. Usually we'd each have something different and taste everything.
We went to a show that night in the theatre called Piano Man. It was a tribute to Billy Joel, Elton John, Ray Charles. The singers and dancers were really good.
And we had a little elephant waiting for us! Monday, the seas and winds were so bad that the ship couldn't get into the harbor at Skagway, so it became a sea day, and we were taken to see fjords and a glacier. It was very blue, and gorgeous, even with the awful weather.
The scenery was beautiful. For dinner Monday I had exotic fruit, cranberry-mango soup, turkey, and chocolate cake. After dinner we skipped the country western show and went in the pool and jacuzzi, which felt wonderful on my knee. As it got later, the seas and winds increased. The pool became a wave pool, and you had to hold onto walls to walk. Manda and Steph felt sick from the movement.
Little icebergs that came off the glacier.

I'll be back with part four!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Vacation, part two- Alaskan Cruise

Something I forgot to mention about Seattle- they give jaywalkers a $100 fine. There's also a $100 fine for picking leaves off the trees, and if you throw a cigarette butt on the ground, that's a $1000 fine! They really want to keep the city pretty!

We boarded Friday August 14, had lunch, and then a lifeboat drill. Lunch was a buffet at the Windjammer cafe.
This was Linda and my room. 170 square feet, and she said it's bigger than cabins and bathrooms on other ships she's been on. We didn't spend huge amounts of time in the room, but we did want a window.
This is a waterfall between the elevators on the 4th deck.
Manda and Steph's room had a different window, and theirs had a windowseat.
The view once we were at sea.
We chose My Time dining, whcih meant we could make a reservation each day for a different time. It worked out really well. The first night I had fresh tropical fruit, chicken, and a strawberry napoleon.
We went to check out the ship afterdinner. The spa is on the pool deck, and we got their schedule of seminars. Then we went to the game room and played a board game for an hour or so and people watched.

Saturday was an At Sea day. Steph and Linda went off to the 7 a.m. stretch class. We met later in the lounge and went to breakfast. Then I went to the spa with Steph for an Accupuncture seminar, and later I went to a digital photography class.

We had lunch in the dining room- we ate all our meals in the dining room, except for port days when it was closed for lunch and we went to the Windjammer. Manda and I went to a scrapbooking class, which was really fun. In late afternoon, I went to the spa and had accupuncture on my knee! I couldn't believe the difference it made!

Accupuncture doesn't hurt. The needles are like fishing line, and you feel the tap of the introducer against your skin. Renee, the Aussie accupuncturist, placed the needles, then put a heat lamp on the knee for a half hour. The needles were removed, she massaged the knee a bit, and I was off to dinner. She recommended water aerobics and a hot tub a couple times a week.

I met up with everyone else and we headed to dinner. Chilled pear soup, ceaser salad, and grand marnier souffle! Fabulous! There was always 5 or 6 choices for each course. We were always assigned to the same waiter, and his assistant. Steph told the assistant waiter the first night that she is allergic to wheat. Every night, when the asst brought the rolls, she'd smile at Steph and say, "None for you, sweetie!"

Every night we'd get a copy of the Cruise Compass, the ship's newspaper. It would list all the activities for the following day. You can be busy from dawn til midnight, or you can sit in the lounges and read and watch the ocean- your choice. We did some of each.

I'll be back later with part 3.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Vacation, part one- Seattle

Steph and I were picked up at 0400 by Rapid Rover and taken to Philly International Airport for our 0630 flight, which was right on time. After an hour layover in St Louis, where we had breakfast and changed our watches, we flew to Sea-Tac, and changed our watches again. We were now 3 time zones earlier. Manda got in from Houston an hour before us, so she met us at baggage claim and we got the shuttle to our downtown hotel. I didn't realize just how hilly Seattle was! Very steep hills.
Seattle is big on sculptures, and this one is the back of a whale. We wandered around, and had dinner at an Irish Pub, and went to bed early (pacific time).
Thursday we went to Pike Place Market. It's huge! The Flower Mart is fantastic, and the prices ridiculously cheap. Flowers in every color combo you can imagine.
The purpose of the market is so the seller and buyer can connect without the middleman of the grocery store, and the prices reflect it. Aren't the berries gorgeous?
We had crumpets! Like English muffins, but a slightly different consistancy, and you can get anything on them. We sat at an outside table.
This is a store in Pioneer Square called Utilikilts. They also come in camoflauge fabric! We rode a double decker hop on-hop off bus, and make the loop a couple of times. I went to a quilt shop in Pike Place Market called Undercover Quilts, and had some fabric shipped home. I also found the Seattle Mystery Bookstore, right at Pioneer Square, and bought a few paperbacks.

Ben's Aunt Judy works downtown, so we met her for lunch. Then it was back to the hotel. Friday morning the shuttle picked us up and took us to the Pier.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

We're back!

We got in last night after midnight, and today the internet has been off and on because of thunderstorms. I'll start my vacation blogs tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Seven and a half hours to go!

We get picked up by Rapid Rover in 7.5 hours, at 0400! Yikes! I'm all packed, I guess, and waiting for Steph to get here so we can check in for our early flight.

We got to spend the afternoon at Ed's parents, to see Heather, Ed, Eddie and Julianna before they go back to NC, so that was fun.

And now I'm off to the shower. We get back late Friday, the 21st.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday night

NJ is like a sauna! It's 94 with a heat index of 104! Totally miserable outside.

We had a fun birthday party for Eddie here Saturday night. He was surprised and happy- he got to play with his various cousins and got presents! He's so cute- as he opened each gift, he went and hugged the person who gave it to him and said thank you. He's got so many aunts, grandmothers and great-grandmothers that the person to be hugged would raise their hand.

Sunday Ralph had to work, and Ed had something to do, so Heather and the kids met Mom and me at Applebee's for lunch. Big Mike, Donna and Jake joined us. After lunch Mom, me, Heather and the kids went shopping at Target, then back here for awhile. Today they were planning on going out in the boat- they're all in ocean withdrawl!

Steph and I met at Panera Bread, then went to LL Bean to look at windbreakers for the cruise. Wednesday morning Rapid Rover comes at 0415 for us! Talk about 0-dark-thirty! I've got us all signed in for the cruise. Tomorrow I have to do laundry and pack. I can't believe it's really happening!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday evening

Heather, Ed and the kids are on the way up from NC! Originally, Ed was going to come up alone, get the boat which has been in his parents' yard, and go back. When Eddie heard, he wanted to come, and Heather decided she needed to come along so she can have her hair done. So they left this morning, but got stuck in accident traffic on 95 (what else is new?). When I spoke to her a few minutes ago, they were in Baltimore, with a projected arrival of 9 p.m.

So tomorrow morning we'll meet them at Ed and Jeanne's, and leave my car for Heather to use, and I'll use my mom's. Tomorrow evening we're having a birthday party for Eddie here, since he'll be in school on his birthday. That gave me an excuse to hit Target and shop!

Just not enough hours in the day! This week I've made Julianna a nightshirt and a pair of pants, and cut out an apron for Heather. Crocheted a little. I still have to pack for the Alaska cruise. Steph and my flight leaves at 0630 on Wednesday, and we meet Manda and Linda in Seattle. The cruise leaves Friday. I have a plastic box that I've been tossing things in for the trip.

I'm making a cake for the party. You bake a chocolate cake in a 9x13 pan. Cool it 15 minutes, then poke holes all over with the handle of a wooden spoon. Mix a jar of caramel topping and a can of sweetened evaporated milk, and pour if over the cake. Cool completely, then frost with cool whip. It calls for crumbled heath bars on top, but I'm using white chocolate chips instead.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday, part two

This picture shows the top of the bag, with the bridesmaid fabric.
The fabric on the bottom is used for the lining and inside pockets. It only took me part of today to sew it together, and that was with a lot of distractions/interruptions.
This is another pattern I bought to make for Julianna. Joann's fabrics insists on putting patterns on sale for 99 cents, so I can't possible resist them.

I was sewing happily along, when I heard the air conditioner start to get really loud! The unit is right outside the sewing room, or I wouldn't have heard it. I got concerned and turned it off, and I'll get Ralph to look at it when he gets home.

And so it goes!



Here is a bag I just made for Manda. I have another picture, but blogger won't let me load it- it'll have to go on the next post. It's a pattern called the Frenchy bag by Amy Butler, and the top fabric has little wedding dresses on it- very appropriate!
This is the fabric that I made the cushion covers for Heather's bench and bench back from. Really cute and Christmasy- she already has a set of cushions with green leaves, and one that's red with snowmen on it.
I can picture the skirt that's the top one, in nice summery fabrics. I know Heather will want one, and Manda might want one for the Hawaii honeymoon. I'm not sure about Steph.
I thought of Steph when I saw these pants- I have to see if she likes the pattern.
And this of course would be for Julianna.