As we sail up the fjord, I am struck by how many houses there are along the shore. Houses that can’t be more than 1-2 meters above sea level. The road that hugs the shoreline reminds me of Road #1 in Iceland which circumnavigates much of the Iceland in sight of the ocean while avoiding the harsher landscape. The road appears to be two-lane with pine forests rising sharply from the land side edge of the road.
There is an extremely detailed article on Ketchikan in Wikipedia. In previous years, the average census of the town was doubled to tripled by the arrival of cruise ships. It isn’t hard to understand why a town with a population of under 9k could easily wind up being outnumbered by the tourists. OTOH – I think that tourism is part of the summer life blood.
(picture of the map)
Besides seeing Tsunami warning signs which is a recognition that being on the coast might not always be the safest place; a fair amount of the town is built on piers which just might be a further challege
I wandered around for an hour or two – found The Whale Tail (the local quilt shop) and Parnassus Books which is the local book store. There are also coffee shops, so I was able to indulge myself in a latte. Or maybe a mocha…..
And then I came back to the ship…..
(note, I finally gave up trying to upload photos…
A classic sea day (day at sea) with people eating and drinking more than is probably good for them, and familiar Muzak is heard over the speakers.
Yes – I recognize the tracks of music playing in various venues. Not because the music is great, the artists well know or anything similar to a sensible reason. I recognize the playlists as exactly the same as Royal has been using for years. I don’t know if that should be comforting or a sign that the cruise line is cheap…
We are just far enough away from the coast that I can only catch the occasional glimpse as the ship works its way north. I spent a few hours again in the solarium stitching before retreating to my cabin when the crowds got to be more than I wanted.
I am sparing you pictures today. It is a ship, shiny, with the usual amount of what some might consider “art” positioned strategically on walls and the turning points of the two main stairways traveling from top to bottom of the ship.
I stitched, collected the updates for most of my stitching projects and otherwise relaxed in my cabin.
Last night as we sailed north along the coast at a speed only slightly faster than a snail crawl there was fog. And more fog. So much fog that visibility didn’t extend from my balcony down to the Promenade Deck, much less down to the sea. It was also a night punctuated on a regular basis by the ship’s horn. Not a small quiet sound but a rather deep, loud, startling blast.
It was still foggy this morning when I wandered up to the front of Deck 14 to spend time in the Solarium
as well as some fairly comfortable seating. I left about 1000 when the numbers of people also choosing to hang out was increasing. It is a bit chilly out on deck. You would think that these people would have brought something more than t-shirts and shorts.
I had lunch at the Coastal Kitchen. Apparently Royal is rationing the number times that us lowly Pinnacles are allowed to eat there. So it is by invitation. That invite netted me a lovely beet salad with avocado followed by salmon with quinoa.
I had enough for lunch that I am mostly skipping supper.
I otherwise spent a quiet day stitching – finishing up one Stitch-a-long that has been hanging partly done for a while. Now I can move on to yet another project which I will hopefully finish by the time we dock on Wednesday
is owned by Royal Caribbean (one of their several ship lines). It was the one class of their ships that I hadn’t cruised on. In general, I like the smaller ships. No, those do not have anywhere near as much in the way of whizz-bang. But then I am not particularly interested in ice skating, bumper cars, lounging poolside, disco dancing, casinos….. you get the idea.
What I want is a nice, relaxing time that I can read, stitch, chat with the occasional other person. I have no particular need to have fancy foods, I don’t drink, and have zero need to be entertained. I can easily and happily make my own fun without damage to self or others.
So here I am, on the Ovation because I just could not resist the free deal. Yep, there are none of the usual perks that come with loyalty club membership. But then I need only pay the daily service fee. Which, on anything below the nose bleed cruises, one always does anyway. Consider it a shake down cruise where the line is testing out handling of guests, feeding of guests, entertainment of guests while seriously attempting to avoid getting or spreading any particular viral disease. (Think COVID, but Norovirus should be prevented as well).
The highlights so far – all the safety briefings are done on over an app leaving only a quick stop in at the muster station. No standing packed on a deck with your new life-boat very best friends. There is now an actual handwashing area on entry to the buffet. Which is now a “point and be served, no help yourself.”
The ship is new and shiny, or at least feels that way. My cabin is comfortable with a decent size couch as well as a nice balcony. There is plenty of storage room on ether side of the bed, plus a dresser and a desk.(see pix).
The bathroom feels more like a single unit drop in more suitable for a plane or train. But since it is only me, it isn’t really an issue.
Getting to the ship was a bit more “fun.” I checked out of the hotel right before 1100 as that was as late as I could without occurring an additional charge. Rather than sit around for an hour or so, I elected to walk toward Alaskanway in search of good coffee. All I found was Starbucks. Better than nothing, but it really seemed like I was the only person not looking for iced coffee. And was not quite, but close, the only person wearing a mask (the others were off Engine 5, Seattle Fire Department).
After claiming my coffee and heading toward the ship(s) I figured out that walking to Pier 91 wasn’t in the cards. Among other things (road and street construction) it didn’t look like you could safely get there from where I was at. Plus, three miles isn’t bad, but not carrying a backpack with electronics. Lyft is my friend. And it turned out to be a good idea – it wasn’t a six minute drive, more like 15 since the route involved bridges without pedestrian ways, car parks, security stops, and much confusion. My driver had never been there before (and probably will never voluntarily go again).
The entrance opened promptly at 1200. People were well behaved, the check-in personnel were still figuring out their hand held devices. I got lucky and didn’t get “selected” for one of the random COVID tests. I really really hate swabs up my nose…
We undocked at 1800 –
and a nice look at Seattle …
the next two days will be sea days which means Ketchikan on Monday (when all the shops are listed as closed….)
Meanwhile, I am kicking back, stitching and listening to audiobooks… (and yes, I paid for Wifi….
Actually, the Best Western Hotel, located just a stone’s throw from the Seattle waterfront, seriously reminds me of the Marine’s Memorial Club on Sutter in San Francisco. Or perhaps the Claremont in Berkeley (prior to renovation). It has an old world feel about it. Curving staircases with actual carpet and polished wooden balustrades. The furniture is glowing, polished hardwood with the kind of details not seen in your average chain. From the outside, it really isn’t much of anything, which is why I didn’t immediately spot it when walking from the Pioneer Square light rail stop. This particular hotel might be named “Pioneer Square” but that isn’t where it is actually located. I really, really appreciate Google maps as I hadn’t gotten around to printing directions ahead of time.
Supper was easy – I walked along Alaska Way (or whatever it is called) till I found a take-a-away seafood place). It was a bit more than a song, but the price for fish & chips was more than reasonable. eat
Now, you are probably wondering what I am doing in Seattle, especially without giving some of you advanced notice.
Well, it is like this. I decided to take advantage of RCCL’s offer to participate in a five day “simulation” cruise. The destination may/may not include Ketchikan depending. The ship is the Ovation of the Seas. The one class of their ships which I have never sailed. The daily service charge is not included, but I do not have to pay for my cabin (balcony – thank you very much). I can role play if needed, but frankly, I am planning on five days of stitching at sea – what more could I want?
Oh, yah – where to find the ship in the morning. That little bit of critical information was not on any of the documents which I received. It isn’t in their app. After not seeing the information on the Port of Seattle website – I attempted to call Royal. Nice kid answering the phone, but he hadn’t a clue and couldn’t find one after checking with three supervisors. I hung up.
Called the Port Master’s office. The lovely lady laughed and told me “Pier 91.” Apparently I was not exactly the first person who called for that particular bit of information….
We left the La Quinta at a reasonable time this morning. Compared to the amount of traffic in the SF area, five or six cars waiting at a light on the main thorough fare in Bakersfield can be completely laughable.
Getting back on I-5 and heading north, we passed the first one of these
My friend Deborah, who grew up in the Central Valley and sensibly relocated decades ago, had mentioned tomatoes being shipped to market. She had cautioned about the roads potentially being slippery. I didn’t have a clue as to what she meant until now.
I didn’t spot more than a couple of piles of tomatoes along the road and didn’t see any slippery spots.
Here is hoping these are all bound for cans of stewed tomatoes.
which is much easier to think about than a day spent in the car driving from Berkeley to Vista California where the South Coast Vizsla Association was holding their annual dog show/competition….
I am along for the ride, and a chance to spend a weekend with Dani (as she shows Mako).
that is – LittleDoveDesigns Oz
Except for an exercise class – can’t forget about self torture – I quietly spent the day listening to an audio book and stitching. I am not sure about my original plan …
Oh, right – it had to do with getting up for an NIH sponsored conference that started at 1000 EDT (which means 0700 for me) on the subject of the Neurological and Psychiatric consequences of COVID- especially Long Haul COVID. (A side note – CDC and NIH are desperately trying to rename the syndrome/s to something more “official.” It is not working. As one of the speakers said – Long Haul came from the trucking world where heavy loads are hauled over long distances. It really suits, And why shouldn’t those dealing with the subsequent problems get to name their condition? – end digression)
Besides all the usual scientific mumbo-jumbo which all amounted to – we don’t really have a clue – there were some interesting and clear presentations. I will post links for anyone interested once the webinar recordings are placed on line.
I worked on Part 6 of Owl Forest’s Alice –
which includes the flowers below the table, Alice, mouse, border, the “eat me” cake, and the top of the sock which leads into a shoe (remaining to be stitched). Some of this was actually completed yesterday.
Then I moved on to Claire Bray’s Solar System – The Sun is actually from May but I decided the 3k+ stitches would be easier to follow in Pattern Keeper and got around to loading it this morning. I have two planets on the list for tomorrow…
which amounted to about 1700 stitches. That is a lot of oranges….. and I still have 600+ to go…
Mindless cozy mysteries make for good audiobook listening. Of course, Audible is having yet another sale…
For the last several years (several being defined as a couple of months after finishing R-CHOP in summer of 2017) I ventured across the Bay Bridge to the SFVA for follow up every couple of months. That follow up consisted of a check-up with my wonderful oncologist, a boat load of lab tests, and maintenance infusion (with assorted medicines accompanied by pre&post chasers).
The study information (you have to love those involved in academic medicine) supported a regime of 12 doses (q2months) of maintenance meds which resulted in an average of 48 months of disease free existence. The jury is still out as to whether or not going beyond that made any difference. [side note – for anyone paying for medical care out of their pocket, this would be a considerable expense just to get the first 24 months of extended treatment. HMOs don’t normally offer the option of continuing after those 24 moths. The VA, stupid on somethings, doesn’t have those limits on its physicians. While not anywhere near as expensive as George’s stem cell transplant, the cost would be a consideration for many].
Anyway – I have made it to my 48 months without any sign of recurrence. I could continue on the therapy but SARS-COV2 is impacting my decisions. Nothing like an infusion to kill off all CD-20 related white cells every two months. CD-20 is on the B cell lymphocyte line. The line that, among other things leads to plasma cells (which produce antibodies). See where I am going? Nothing like wiping out my immune system every couple of months. With COVID-19 expressing new and more infectious variants.
I have done fine so far through the last year +, but I don’t have a problem wearing a mask and staying away from crowds. But with Delta, plus all those who don’t want to be immunized to protect themselves and everyone else much less wear masks – I don’t think the risk is going to be worth it.
The end result? Rather than get home at 1600 or later, I was home before 1100, complete with a stop at the bakery for fresh peach turnovers… yummm
Was so named by one of the Canadian cross-stitch designers. Probably because, like many of us, she became frustrated at continually having to buy yet another skein of DMC 310 floss. Aka plain black. There are few patterns that do not include black. Unlike white, there really is only one black. White, OTOH, can be white, bright white, eggshell white, ….. anyone who has ever tried to buy white paint for room walls has gone through the pain of explaining that “just white thank you.” and dealing with the response of “what kind of white?”
Anyway, I was digressing. If I had had a bit more sense, I probably would have gone to the JoAnn’s website and ordered a mini-cone of black and one of white, but I didn’t. I just went to DMC and ordered directly (coupons are sooo useful + free shipping).
And I now have enough black floss to last several lifetimes.
In case it wasn’t obvious. the new cone is the large beast in the center. For comparison, the skein of red on the top is 8 meters of six-strand floss. The second largest black is #12 sulky on a cone that originally contained 2100 meters. The smaller black spool is a new Egyptian #12 cotton I just picked up (and contains 400 meters). The yellow spool is also sulky #12 on a 300 meter spool.
Why do I want so much black? Ok, I probably will never use up this much black, but it is time to start on Halloween stitching!
just make life better.
It is near the end of the season. If it wasn’t by time, it certainly would have been by the strangeness of the weather.
I had extremely sour home grown cherries from Alison that didn’t last long at all.
Then there are the Rainier Cherries and the Washington sweet cherries –
and I don’t think I will buy any more till spring, next year.
Doesn’t sound like much to younger people, but to all of us who are past a certain age and have seen most major milestones in the rear view mirror, this past year has been a mix of relief and pain.
I would not expect any of you to remember, but going back – we had a major party for George (2018 – turned 70). In 2019, we spent the summer, which included his birthday with him recovering from his stem cell transplant with the increasing knowledge that it had failed. Mostly that summer was spent with him isolated from just about everyone and everything. Outside people and food really weren’t an option. After all, you don’t go through all of that to take chances on picking up something from unknown sources.
The second transplant in fall of 2019 worked. And that meant a minimum of another 100 days lockdown AFTER his 30 days in the hospital. Which takes us to 2020 – and we all know how we have spent the last 18 months.
So here we are, 2021, and sensibly still celebrated with a home cooked meal (mostly Noah with me contributing) and ending with fresh cobblers baked by Shana. At some point, I am hoping the world will open up again and we will have the opportunity to travel.
and I know that POD stands for something, but what? Escapes me at the moment. But POD is the name for the Alameda County run community immunization sites. Starting in January, Fremont Highs School on Foothill Blvd in Oakland was the first of such sites. Open Thurs-Sat, the location was picked for a number of reasons. The area around the high school is one of the lowest income areas in the county. And, as should not be surprising, had one of the highest attack rates of COVID-19 along with not insignificant death rate.
The area has a high immigrant population with Spanish, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mam, all being more prevalent than English.
Our location was in the brand new gym of the high school – which is home to the Fremont High School Tigers
I started working there in February and put in more than a dozen shifts during Feb/March. Starting in April, most of my shifts were at the Ashland-Cherryland site. The Alameda Country Public Health staff worked all the sites, so one saw the same people no matter the location. But anyway. …
Over the course of about five months, this one particular site (on three days a week) fully vaccinated over 26,000 individuals. Before anyone who has gone to a mass vaccination site scoffs – this location was set to support those who were local, didn’t have transpiration. So everyone walked (or was wheeled) into the POD.
I am mentioning all of this because today was the final day at this location. In addition to those working today a number of the rest of us who had put in a lot of time were invited to celebrate. There was cake
as well as food.
It was good to have a chance to say thank you and good-bye to many of those with whom I have been working these last five months. I am currently not signed up for anymore shifts as there are plenty of volunteers and most individuals who want immunizations have received them. If it comes to boosters this fall – then I will probably volunteer to work again.
Can mean a number of things, including a song by Madonna (amazingly extensive article in Wiki.)
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
1: delayed or detained for a time
2 : anxiously nervous
3 : having great or excessive interest in or preoccupation with someone or something —usually used with on –
they broke up but he’s still hung up on her
hung up on winning
Then there are the much more prosaic uses of the expression – as in “I hung up on …” when referring to telemarketers. Or – “She hung up her clothes…” said in amazement by a parent.
In the following simple case – it is with joy that after three attempts to find hardware that would work on a 1930s door – and with skill from Noah –
A long time ago (ok, more than 40 years ago), George & I lived in St Paul (MN). I had a small family practice mostly focused on OB and well babies. George was working for Legal Aid. I mentioning this background because connections extend over time, distance, and space. (no, not at Star Trek reference).
I have several lovely Lebküchen tins from our time in Germany. Three of them have been sitting on top of the dining room built in cupboards for several years as indicated by the definite coating of dust. There are family photos inside. Shana has been asking about her baby book; it is somewhere and I will find it. Figuring one way to quell my guilt would be to offer a selection of photos from her infancy and childhood.
Among them, I found pictures from a birthday party she attended when not quite a year old. I looked at the photos, twins. I remembered them, their older brother, and their parents quite clearly. On a whim, I decided to see if I could locate either of the twins. The boy of the two had a fairly unique first name and I located him on a simple search. As a faculty member, his university kindly provided a contact email.
So off went an email. Several days passed; I received a reply. No, he obviously didn’t remember (I don’t know anyone who remembers their first birthday party). but his parents immediately knew who I was. In fact, he was at their house, as were his siblings, and everyone’s spouses and offspring. I emailed off a set of the pictures. They were much appreciated, I was assured.
And I am thinking that sometimes it is alright to be reminded of the times when our hair wasn’t grey (or that we had hair…)
is a first world problem. Both George and I have more than enough clothes to make it through a couple of weeks. We have several changes of bed linens. We have plenty of towels (hello? perhaps I should say bath sheets as those I brought home from RCCL cruises never seem to die).
So the basket fills up with clothes needing a wash. Then a second basket fills up. This morning I decided that it probably was my turn and started hauling both baskets toward the downstairs utility room. Especially as I took a look at the linens and towels.
——–>8—— three hours later ———-
The last load is in the dryer – mostly towels and jeans. I now have clean clothes stacked on the bed. Mine fall into five neat piles. There are leggings, Uniqlo support tanks, underwear, socks, and pullover tops (most of which have hoods). That is it. Nothing fancy. Nothing that needs a hanger. Absolutely certainly nothing that would ever, under any circumstances require ironing.
It is now back to stitching….
with pretty much the called for DMC in 16ct Sprite by PTP
And then I realized that there was still a load in the dryer. At least it is towels and jeans. Nothing that can’t get wrinkled.
After spending decades in the military where schedule was a given (and not a dirty word) I more or less successfully transitioned to a life of travel where schedule is something you make up yourself. Then on to graduate school where you have little to no control over where and when you have to be.
[side note, if you have forgotten, I can refer you back to my rants of 2018-2019 about the Bar and its requirement for schools to take attendance. That is right, law schools take attendance (which means you have to physically be there. Not watch a video later or get notes). And expect you to participate in class which really doesn’t make up anything as part of the grade unless you are really on a borderline. There are also rules about what percentage of a class can receive what grades…. That part of the whole experience felt like somewhere between elementary school and undergrad @ university].
Like everyone else – we are now going on more than 18 months of a “schedule” being mostly dictated by outside agencies scheduling Zoom/WebiNex/GoToMeeting/etc meetings. Add in the challenges associated time zones and consistency just didn’t exist.
I added in working at Alameda County Vaccination clinics in the end of January (1-3/week) with shifts being 10hrs+travel time. Those particular locations are being phased out as the demand simply isn’t there anymore. At least here in California, anyone who wants to be vaccinated can be (no charge). The only limits for some anymore are transportation or hours of the clinics. (evening and weekend clinics were added in May).
So here I am, the clinics where I worked are shutting down. The new ones are more than an hour’s drive which really isn’t worth it. Many of the organizations which were running weekly conferences have dropped back to monthly or bi-monthly. Zoom times are less and less applicable. Other than 3x week exercise class, my time should be my own?
except for a seemingly never ending list of errands that puts me behind the wheel of the car.
Of course, this may be preferable to sorting and organizing the contents of the garage
of not exercising, doing much of anything physical, I have really run out of excuses.
BC = Before Covid in the 2011eg2018 time frame I spent probably more than a fair amount of time on various cruise ships. It was relatively easy to get up in the morning and be in the fitness center when it opened. Most of the rest of the passengers seemed to be completely on vacation (re: eating, drinking, and lying around in various deck chairs) so that it wasn’t hard to get 30-60 minutes of treadmill time.
All of that stopped in fall 2018 when I, perhaps foolishly – perhaps not, decided to take advantage of Uncle Sam’s willingness to pay for further education. Hence the Master’s Program because – why not? Tuition and books were paid, SF netted a more than reasonable subsistence allowance and I turned to attempting to exercise my brain rather than my legs.
[Queue George becoming ill partway through that year followed by more hospital trips followed by COVID]
The end result is that I found, while I actually prefer attending educational material via zoom, that mode doesn’t work for me when it comes to exercise classes. When the center where I had been sporadically taking classes reopened last month, as I said, I really ran out of excuses.
I admit, while waiting for class to start this morning, that I am not thrilled at how much stamina, flexibility, and strength I have lost. As I look across the studio at the mirrored wall, my reflection falls on one of the seams. It is just a bit cracked…..
As anyone who lives in the US knows, today is the 4th of July, Independence Day. It is also a week out from when I was going to be heading with a number of friends on a seven day journey around the western Caribbean. The trip had originally been planned for last year, but we all know what happened to those plans.
This morning the following appears in my email in-box:
Thank you for choosing Norwegian Cruise Line. Your sail date is quickly approaching and your online check in is now open. To expedite your time at the pier and select your embarkation time, we urge all guests to complete their online check in to provide the necessary documentation required to board the ship.
I just stare. I am having trouble believing that any cruise line would not have fixed their automatic email reminder system by now. In exactly WHICH universe am I am able to take a cruise in a week. A cruise for which I received a cancellation notice, a credit on my account, and several apology letters.
Now, I have been sailing NCL for years and never before had any reason to doubt their dedication, organizational, or safety abilities. But this email simply should not have happened.
NCL has an on-line chat. I checked the box. Sure enough, the person who answered (and I really don’t think it was a bot) replied that she had already received a number of inquiries this morning and the IT people were working on the problem. Apologies and all of that.
On the world weather front – it is cool and overcast here. The Pacific Northwest finally has had the hot air inversion breakup and temperatures drop back down to normal for the area. (Trust me, you do not want temps of 40-48*C in an area which normally runs 30*C in the summer. Not when people lack climate control in their homes). Much of a world away, Edinburg had a major storm today with flash flooding. Beverly sent me a couple of local news links. Trust the Brits to understate – just warning people to be careful. With streets knee deep in water? Seriously, just tell everyone to stay home unless it is an emergency..
Anyway, I am not going anywhere. Absolutely no interest in crowding on to public transportation or into a baseball park. I will watch from the comfort of a nice stitching chair and note the increased risk of disease transmission.