The Glaciers are receding


Let me start out by correcting my geography. I don’t know why I keep thinking Sitka is off the end of the archipelago, but  rather it is hundreds of kilometers short and much nearer the main body of North America. Took looking at the map. Duh – all of which should have been obvious given we hadn’t traveled anywhere near far enough .

I spent a quiet day. Since Royal provides me with free wifi, I was able to attend Kol Nidre and Yom Kippur services on line.  Otherwise, I watched the scenery pass by.

The Rest of this post – you will need to follow this link as there is just too much to add in an email. 

Traveling along the Arm –

the photos are only sort of organized

with amazing color of water

and the glacier

With others rapidly receding

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Sitka, Alaska is about as far west as most of us will ever go while remaining in Alaska. I was going to say “United States” but then would have had to go back and edit to say “continental United States” which would then open up the door to discussions about islands since Hawaii (as a collection of islands) is the most recent US state and certainly falls west of Alaska.

Oh, never mind. Let’s just play with local history going back about 11000 years of so. Tlingit peoples first and still. Then the random trapper and fisherman. Than the Russians who sold the area to the US in the 1860s or so for $7.5M|US. The name of Baranof Island has remained.

Anyway – Sitka is about 8,000 inhabitants. The harbor where we docked was a couple of miles out of the town center. I counted seven different churches on the way in + a couple more in town, elementary and high schools, and more boats than I could count. If you want to know a lot more about Sitka – the Wiki article is extensive and includes a lot of tourist information.

I went to the Museum,


wandered through town,

bought very little (not counting some fudge), hiked up Baranof Castle Hill,

and ignored the rain.

Jurassic Perk is finished!


And I will be off line till tomorrow after sundown due to Yom Kippur

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Pineapple Luncheon

I should be polite and call today’s invitation only luncheon by the proper name of “Cheers with an Officer.” This particular event used to be, prior to Covid – Luncheon with an officer and you actually had one of them sitting at the table with you. I always viewed it as a stress test for the junior officers. Otherwise, it was one of those perks available to higher levels in the loyalty program.

Royal, like several other cruise lines, has been very generous with offers since cruising restarted after the pandemic shut down. As a result, the number of “senior” loyally members has skyrocketed. The level is actually called Pinnacle.  A few of us started calling it “Pineapple” a decade ago and that name has also stuck. I was just about the only one today without one of the shiny name tags. I don’t bother with it. For a long time I wasn’t sure where it was; more recently I discovered it buried in the original box in my closet. Oh, well. I know who I am. 

Those at my table for the luncheon: a solo traveler from Western Washington State who retired early to travel and a couple from Australia (about 4 hours north of Sydney) who I think are also recent retirees. All three are recent arrivals at this lofty status and were honestly shocked when my reply to the oft asked question of “when did you make Pinnacle?” is 2014….

Ah well… In any case, lunch was lovely, I have found some comfortable places to stitch outside my cabin so that it can be cleaned in the morning. 

And finally – New Cruise New Start (for those crafters among us).

Silver Creek Samplers – “Jurassic Perk” on 16 ct Sandy Bottom by Fortnight Fabrics with the called for DMC

It is actually a relatively quick and easy stitch while appealing to my sense of humor. I should be able to finish the dinosaur tomorrow…..


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Radiance of the Seas

and the answer to “What are you doing in Vancouver?”

Looping around Alaska. At least that is what is planned pending the azipods performing and the weather holding. I am booked into a balcony cabin so as to really enjoy glacier watching from the comfort of my own space.  I am hopeful that we will make it to Sitka – the one port on this itinerary which I haven’t ever seen. Juneau and Ketchikan both have lovely quilt & yarn stores so that I can go and drool without actually spending money. Like many of us, I have more than enough supplies to outlast the lifetimes of all of my family. 

Friday, September 22 Vancouver, BC, Canada 4:00pm
Saturday, September 23 At Sea
Sunday, September 24 Sitka, AK 2:00pm 8:00pm
Monday, September 25 Endicott Arm, AK (Cruising)
Tuesday, September 26 Juneau, AK 7:00am 3:00pm
Wednesday, September 27 Ketchikan, AK 10:00am 6:00pm
Thursday, September 28 Inside Passage, AK (Cruising)
Friday, September 29 Vancouver, BC, Canada 7:00am


(note – I took the shuttle bus from the hotel – in the future, I would take the 0900 shuttle rather than the 1100. At least on a weekday. It took over an hour to get from near the Airport to Canada Place. Inside was total and complete confusion – worse than last year sailing out of here to Australia and that was insanity. There were only two ships in port today – but dropping off a bag involved an elevator ride, hiking to the backend of beyond etc). Not controlled by the cruise lines – but challenging none the less)

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getting to Vancouver

Some days start out with a bang. Others with a lot of whining. I went to bed early last night anticipating getting up in the middle of the night, but the reality of 0245 is always worse than what I can imagine. Add to it that there is no way to take public transportation for any flight out of SFO earlier than about 0845 in the morning. BART doesn’t even get started till 0500. Then there is the hour + that it takes to get to the airport (line changes included). This leaves anyone with an early flight with the choices of Taxi/Ride Share/Family. At this point I actually think it might be cheaper to stay at one of the no name hotels near the airport than to pay the ride-share fee. 

Anyway. Miriam gave me a ride. Since I hadn’t bothered to look up gates, I just assumed International Terminal for Air Canada. Wrong. Terminal 2 which is about as far as you can get, but still a nice quiet walk at that time of the morning.  The counter people were wonderful, checking me in without problems and happily taking my suitcase at no extra charge. As it turns out, booking through United means that one can’t check in through United. And since my reservation wasn’t made through Air Canada, they didn’t recognize my reservation number. Go figure. It all worked out.

Let me just leave you with the following – this was a plane full of idiots who didn’t understand how to board and take their seats. Seriously. Discussions about which overhead compartment was more convenient, falling fishing rods, and people arguing when they attempted to place 2 or more things in the overhead compartment. Me? Small backpack under the seat in front of me and I will take SouthWest Airlines boarding any day.

Oh, I forgot to say – Vancouver, (British Columbia, not Washington State. Just in case there was any confusion in your mind) was my destination. I am providing you a couple of quick pix taken of the inflight progress just for your amusement. 

First – the flight path…

The second – well, the distances are correct. But since we left ~ 0700, the only thing I can think of is UTC…

But then it should say1622, not 4:22pm…

Anyway, we landed around 0900. I had done the ArriveCan app ahead of time so it took me all of 3 minutes to get through the immigration process. Luggage showed up promptly. My hotel has a shuttle bus from the airport and the lovely ladies at the desk allowed for early check in.  The rest of my plans for the day involve napping and figuring how to turn OFF the A/C in the room.





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It has been

45 years since 10 Sept 1978 which also fell on a Sunday.  George and I had just moved into our new house, got up early to clean since we were having our wedding reception in our (mostly empty) dining room and library area immediately after our midday wedding. Everything was pretty low budget since the choices were to spend money on a ceremony or  the down payment on the house. Obvious no brainer from our point of view.

And here it is again, our anniversary falling on a Sunday. We can’t go our for specialty pancakes like we did that morning since I have yet to find pannekoeken (Dutch, not German) in our area. Minnesota & Pacific Northwest, yes, but not particularly in my current area of the world. These are an oven-baked pancake in case you are wondering not crepes or panfried variety of French or German origin.

Looking back – although we certainly were well out of school, in the work force – we were young.

and since my photo choices were me looking like a dork with my mouth hanging open or George with crooked glasses – well, my choice was obvious.

Since then we have done the Minnesota (leaving March 1981)-> Stuttgart -> Maryland -> DC-> Kaiserslautern/DC/Leipzig -> Watertown/DC -> Heidelberg -> Würzburg/Heidelberg -> Würzburg (+Bosnia)-> München -> Heidelberg -> Kuwait/Heidelberg -> Heidelberg -> Heidelberg/Pffafikon -> Camberley/Pffafikon -> Bagram/Pffafikon -> Heidelberg/Pffafikon -> Berkeley (December 2015).  I think I left out Camp Casey, but never mind. Where ever you see more than one city listed, it was because one of us landed somewhere else secondary to work for six months or more. In any case, it has been a lot of moves over the years. We owned our house in Heidelberg from summer 2001- Dec 2015 making it our longest “stay.”  In December, we will have been here eight years.

I thought about including a current picture but that would mean getting in front of a camera rather than behind it. There is also the problem of “it is weird being the same age as old people.”


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Arms too short

There is always the slightly wry joke about one’s arms being too short to easily read a book as one ages and the eye’s lenses no longer are as flexible.

And then there is the challenge of having both cataracts removed and electing for distance vision. After all – near vision with a fixe focal lens is always a crap shoot. Which near distance? Stitching? Reading? The computer screen? So that all leads me to my current challenge – the phone screen.

All the ebook apps allow one to increase the font size. The basic iPhone screen? Not so much. No, I don’t want Siri to read me the screen. Hello? What happened to the concept of privacy? I simply would like to increase the font on all the screens as a matter of routine. I can’t be the first person to wish this. According to Apple Support, it is easy to change the font size in any App that has dynamic font support. But there is ZERO way to change the font size on the Home Screen. Inside the apps? Yes, but apparently finely detailed icons are supposed to be recognizable without needing the label.

Sheesh…. So I went to look at my MAC. Same issue….

I am more than willing to use readers. After all, being able to drive without glasses is absolutely amazing. I can SEE! But checking anything with in a meter? Meh…

Instead, stitching…

Treasure Island – OwlForest. All 8 of the parts released so far are completer. 9 to go.

So I am moving on to Royal Garden – Fox&Rabbit – July section of the 12 month mystery sal.

The ?bee? is new and I have just started the second of the remaining three motifs. It isn’t all that large nor is the next. But there is one huge one and I will like to have this section completed before the next is released.

Surprised by this little lovely – even a bit of rain here provides some beauty.



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The Four

and I finished Winter Dog this morning. So here are the four seasonal critters from Barbara Ana – each runs about 1200 stitches.

Meet Winter Dog

Autumn Cat

Summer Dog

and Spring Cat

They might just fit in the five in hoops that I have on hand. If not, 6 inch hoops for sure. I am speaking of the fake wooden ones that look like picture frames. Sooner or later something will wind up on the walls.

Now to find the missing color of beads so that I can finish Miss Spider…

Oh – no eye pain or blurry vision to day but I am being compulsive about eye drops…

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Do the eyes have it?

It was not particularly fun to be woken up at 0300 with serious pain in my right eye. Literally eye watering pain. This is not what happened with my left eye, and it was neither expected or desired. Over the next few hours I experimented around with what would make things better. Eye closed and not moving seemed to be my best bet. Moving my eye hurt. Keeping it closed was better.

I called the eye clinic when they opened. One of the nurses called me back. I clarified what was going on and he agreed that being seen would be wise. Early mid-morning is not a particularly great time to drive into San Francisco; it took almost 90 minutes to travers those 17 miles. Of course, by this time, everything was calming down. Figures doesn’t it?

My doc saw me and did the whole extensive check thing. She agreed that my extra doses of drops wouldn’t have hurt anything and might have helped. With a set of signs to watch for – we headed back toward home.

And no, I did not attempt to drive. George did the driving, arriving back in Berkeley just in time for yet another one of his conference calls. I mostly jelled out for the rest of the afternoon.

Rather than pull out anything involving a deadline – there is Steampunk Fox which I started back when I was visiting Beverly in Edinburgh and having touched since the NCL Sun.

when last seen, she didn’t have a head, hat, tail or a dress bodice – so some progress has been made. Giving the size of my fabric (which has The Fortune Teller on the left side) I am going to be reducing the amount of “extras’ that I add in. Tail, ear tips, and hand will complete her just leaving me the rest of her hat, the top arch and a number of flowers. Oh yes, and sheep. Just can’t leave out three little sheep…

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Fourth of four

And yet another project that has been languishing in my project pile for well over a year.

Background – a long time ago – at least a couple of year before Russia decided to invade the Ukraine, I had purchased a kit of Barbara Ana’s 4 Seasons from NitkaMoscow.  As a bonus, there were four additional small charts that I could download from their site. Four seasons charted as two dogs and two cats. Each was about 1200 stitches – small, cute, and easily stitched which was why I promptly did the first two completely, the third without the minimal back stitch, and never started the fourth. Obvious, right?

This morning I decided that I really needed to go through my “holding” project bin for something that would be relatively quick and easy to stitch/finish. Three of four completed? PDF pattern to drop into PatternKeeper? How could I go wrong.

So here is the start on Winter Dog.

Stitched on 16 ct Aida more than likely with the called for DMC. Exception being I subbed in B5200 for white since the white didn’t show on this faint blue/gray fabric at all.

I have some quilts to finish this week – so it is now one to desk clearing time….

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Stuffed Pals

Ok, I probably have more switchable stuffed animals that anyone could possibly need. I keep saying that I going to embroider names on them. If I was really smart, I would have a number of the smaller ones in reserve so that family members could use them for baby presents. But these, so far, are allegedly mine. Which is one of the reasons I think Lev takes delight in moving them around.

Obviously Leo & Henri. Leo you can easily understand. It turns out that the hedgehog’s name derives from the German and means estate ruler. I guess with quills you rule?

Since the 4 Elements was finished – it needed to be replaced, right? In this case with Horrorflies by Noctiflora. I stitched the top half of the frame and will add in the bottom after the first release (and decision if this is something I really want to stitch). She has some wonderful carnivorous plants so it should be both fun and different.

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Second eye

It was another Friday, four weeks from heading to SFVA and having my left eye freed of its cataract. This time, my right eye …. my dominant eye and a lot more anxiety on my part. At really dark and early, we made the same choice as last time, better to head over early and wait in the car for check in time as spending the same or more time sitting in the madhouse that is the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza. Trust me on this one.

Last time my position on the case list was second. This time it was allegedly third with a report time given to me as 0930 (and 0830 on the website). So I figured going with the earlier time was safer. Check in turned out to be closer to 0930, but I didn’t arrive in the OR (operating room in American, Operating Theatre in British) till about 1100 and I escaped from the Recovery Room about 90 minutes later. Or was it later than that? The time is pretty blurry. I do have a lot more memory from the surgery this time than last. including the conversations between my doc and the supervising staff member.

George got me home, made sure I had some food at the appropriate times and I crashed.

Rather than provide you a photo of haggard old lady with eye patch – please meet a couple of the stuffies hard at work.

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Ducks are Done!

Let me introduce you to “Born to be Wild” art by Gordon Fitchett and the chart from Heaven and Earth Designs. This is one of the smaller charts and is charted without background. The fabric is reprinted Aida called Sea Sun Sand which I purchased from Fabric Flair.

For a “full coverage” minus background, this is pattern only has 13xxx stitches. But in that number of stitches are about 90 colors which means …. confetti. Lots and lots of confetti.. and like any similar pattern, the colors look better when not viewed through a magnifying glass….

So here they are – two ducks out on a motor scooter on the beach just as I finished.

and here they are – headed down the beach…

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Two left feet

That is literally what I had in my hand as I headed for the door early this morning. Or rather – two left sandals. Since, obviously that was not what I intended it caused yet another trip up the stairs and into the house. Now, if these had been some kind of generic slip on – kind of like hotel slippers I might have gotten away with it – but since one was a brown Keen and the other another similar brand in blue – it wasn’t going to work for me, even if they had fit.

At least my local coffee shop was already open and ready to make a latte for my second trip of the week into San Francisco. With only a moderate backup at the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza and the now expected detour on the way into the city, it could have been worse.  My appointment went smoothly, no labs were needed, and I scored some lovely vegetables and fruits at the Farmer’s Market on the way home (along with a stop at Acme…). 

Other than that, I finished Part #2 of Tiny Modernists Halloween SAL

and a reasonable number of stitches into the Ducks

The young punk’s head is stitched and I have made a start on his passenger’s glasses and bill.

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Ship a’sailing

Part 7 of Treasure Island. Managed a few stitches on it yesterday.  After putting in almost 200 stitches on the Ducks (see below) I decided that this part needed to be done so that I don’t have to think about it for another week.

and here is how far I have managed on the Ducks…

as you can see, I have managed a good portion of his bill, face & sun glasses….

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Eyes painfully open

Ah yes, an early drive to SFVA followed by waiting followed by getting my eyes dilated. Again. Other than the fact that it is not fun having a blinding light shone in one’s eyes while tears run down your face.. there is the slight problem of managing to drive home afterwards.  The last time I did this which was a month ago, I had a dental appointment that afternoon. Those eye drops had long since worn off by the time I was headed home. 

Not so this time. Two -> four hours I was told till those drops wear off. That was six hours ago and my eyes are still looking like they belong to someone trapped in a dark basement horror show.  I don’t have prescription sun glasses so I was gifted one of those curled up plastic sunshade thingies that you are supposed to stuff between your eyes and glasses. It helped some for directly incoming light but nothing for everything above, below, and to the side. I still managed to drive home carefully figuring that the lighter traffic of late morning would be better than waiting. 

Friday is surgery day. George will be driving me home so that pesky dilation won’t matter.



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Picking a Botanist

The most recent Greenhouse of Oddities (#9, released this past Friday) provided a choice between two men as a botanist; George Washington Carver or Charles Darwin. Both are interesting, I went with Carver. Partly out of interest and partly to avoid white hair and beard.

There are only two more releases to go. And backstitching, I can’t forget about the backstitching…

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It is coming together

the last bit of the July border on my Royal Garden SAL

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Would you believe

that I received a heavy package in the mail. No recognition on my part as to the return address. Not a name, just a street address.. Opening it up – this is what was inside –

one each, ugly large glass “award” from Royal. Engraved with BOTH my name and George’s.  Now it would have been nice had it show up – oh let us say – in April or May – sometime reasonably soon after that Symphony TransAtlantic sailing in March. Or that it would have been in the much older and elegant style. OR … and this is the big one – that the certificate for a “free cruise” would be good for a year from receipt, not a year from this past March. Really?

For now it is on top of the bookcase in the TV room. not particularly visible to anyone….

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so many dogs

I just couldn’t resist this photo –

after finding it in my email + having had it texted to me several times. It seems that the green of Golden Retriever originated in Scotland in the 1800s. And so there was a worldwide gathering/return to the breed’s origin/total chaos event at the end of July.

It was real, but to me the whole concept seems like one of those – what do you get when you combine 500 Golden Retrievers, rain, and an outdoor setting? Not just chaos, but happy, wet, totally stinky dogs….


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