Alaska Day 2: A Day At Sea

My entire family (me, mom, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, and 1 cousin) all took a cruise recently to Alaska. Now that we are home and have a stable internet connection, here are long travelogues from the trip, complete with pictures.

~Lynda

Today is our first full day on the ship, and it’s a day at sea. We don’t get to Juneau until tomorrow, I believe, but I’d have to check…and right now I’m nice and cozy sitting on the bed. LOL. 

Mom and I got up early and had croissants in our room, and just slowly took our time getting ready. No rush, and, in fact, I actually went back to sleep for another half hour. LOL. We finally got a call from Uncle J and Aunt K that they were heading up to breakfast. Uncle Dr J had already left to go take photos, although, with the weather, there really wasn’t much outside to take pictures of. Aunt J was reading, but said she’d go up with Mom and me. A family breakfast it is!

Uncle Dr J took a break from taking photos to join us, and after breakfast we all wandered around the ship a bit. Got to see the tail end, and went up into the Skywalkers club to see the views from the highest public point on the ship. Beautiful. Would have been spectacular if we had seen any sun.

We found our embarkation photo. Well, sort of. Mom and I went in a different way separate from everyone, so they didn’t take our picture. I bought one of the group of Uncle J, Aunt K, Cousin A, Aunt J and Uncle Dr J. Between them they’re holding a 24-pack of Bud Light and 6 bottles of wine. We won’t talk about what’s in the “water” bottle. *grin* Let’s just agree that everyone knows it’s not really water. We also saw the photos the photographer took at dinner last night. Mom’s wasn’t very good, and Uncle J looks like he should be twirling his moustache talking about the dastardly deeds he’ll be doing later. Aunt K’s picture was beautiful, but she photographs well anyway. I picked up my picture, because it wasn’t too bad. Mom really loves it. I wish I had the time to remove my glasses.

We wandered in and out of some of the shops, and it ended with everyone going their separate ways. Cousin A went with me to one of the bar areas and I FINALLY got my first drink! The Ultimate Mai Tai. Now, I’m not big on mai tais in general, but this one is AMAZING. Too bad the server tried to kill me with nuts. LOL

We’ve made reservations to go back to the Crown Grill on the night we’re in Victoria. I’m already planning my meal. LOL And wondering if I can get 2 S’mores desserts. *grin* I bet I could.

I’m doing TONS of walking on this cruise. I’m trying to not say no to something just because I’d have to walk there. Although, I AM tired of being hot and sweaty. LOL. Later this afternoon is Bingo, then back to the room to get dressed for Formal Night. We’re taking pictures. I’ve insisted. 

****************

L-Y-N-D-A and BINGO was her name OH!

Yup. That’s right. I won Bingo. $200, baybeeeee! My cousin won $400, so YAY for Team FishWithSticks! My Uncle J and Aunt K…Zippo. Uncle J says every time he plays with Cousin A, she wins and he loses. LOL. Bingo again in a few days. Maybe I’ll try my hand at Roulette tonight. I do well with Roulette.

After Bingo was Trivia. Yeah, we sucked. Did you know a baby porcupine is called a porcupette? Who knew? Well, apparently the team behind us, because they got it right. LOL. We got 15 out of 20 right. Would have been 17 (and the winning team) if we had only listened to Uncle J. LOL. Ah, well. Next time.

Formal night was tonight, so before we went in to dinner we got our pictures taken. I really hope they came out, because we all looked gooooood. Our dinner was at our “regular” dining room, Bernini. It was good. Crown Grill was better, of course, but still tonight was tasty. Most of our table had Shrimp Newburg, and it was good. I OD’d on shrimp, as I had the Shrimp Cocktail appetizer, too. 

Then at 9:30 at night we went back to the room where I took a picture of the sky before sunset. When I travel north I’m always amazed at how different the light is. Pretty chilly out there on the balcony, though. *grin* Especially as I was not wearing a jacket. Brrr.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka Fish Out of On the Water

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Alaska Day 1: Bon Voyage

My entire family (me, mom, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, and 1 cousin) all took a cruise recently to Alaska. Now that we are home and have a stable internet connection, here are long travelogues from the trip, complete with pictures.

~Lynda

Today, a day of travel, has been an excruciatingly long day, and it’s only 5:30 pm. LOL

It started out with my alarm at 3:45 in the morning. Any day that begins HOURS before the sun rises is sure to be long. LOL Luckily mom and I had packed, and packed well, and were on the road by 5:30…exactly when we said we would. We met Aunt J and Uncle Dr J at the airport. I was worried my luggage was going to be WAY over weight, as it felt really heavy, but when Uncle Dr J took it out of the car, he commented on how light it was. Turns out: 37 pounds. WHOO HOO! We had to laugh when we got to the dock, though, because we thought we lost mom’s suitcase. Turned out it was so small we couldn’t see it behind everyone else’s.

We got the wheelchair for mom, and headed to the gate. These airline escorts go through that place like they’re in a race! Cousin A upgraded herself to first class…the brat…Mom, Aunt J and I were on one side of the aisle, and Uncle Dr J was in the window seat across from us. Uncle J (not to be confused with Uncle Dr J) and Aunt K were WAAAAAY in the back.

The flight was uneventful, and then…SeaTac. Ahh, SeaTac. How I loathe you so. It took a couple long walks, and 2 stops on a train, and then another LOOOONG walk before we were able to find the taxi stand. 

Next dilemma: 7 people…8 large suitcases…6 decent sized carryons…and a Prius taxi. Umm…No. So we got them to send a Yellow Cab van, and while I wouldn’t want to take a road trip this way, it wasn’t bad. From the airport we headed to a state-run liquor store for the booze. Unfortunately, it’s May 26 and on June 1 Washington is doing away with state-run liquor stores and allowing the grocery stores to carry hard liquor. So…no one has any. LOL We got some wine and some gin at the liquor store, then headed to a Safeway for the beer. Cousin A emptied out 2 large water bottles and filled them with the gin. *grin* That’s one water bottle you DON’T want to gulp from. At some point we started referring to it as the Holy Water. 

Check in on the ship was relatively smooth. Aunt J and Uncle Dr J have the room next to us, and we had our Stateroom Steward, the fabulous Rosalie, open up the door between the balconies. We’ve Mustered ourselves (security lecture/life-preserver lessons), obtained our souvenir glasses for our drink packages, and we’ve been to the cafe for a little snack. By that time it was 4:00 and the last thing we ate was breakfast sandwiches at 6:30 am. We were STARVED.

Everyone’s in their own staterooms now. Mom’s napping on the sofa. We have the sliding door open and the water is beautiful. We’re still within sight of land, and I believe we will be most of the night. Well, I’m off to nap for about a half hour before we have to get ready to go to dinner. 

Later: Crown Grill for Dinner.

Next Up: A day at sea. Should be wonderful and relaxing. I can’t wait.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka Fish Out of On the Water

I’m Late! I’m Late!

For a Very Important Date! No time to say “hello” Good bye! I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!

Well, no, not really, but it’s going to be a Very Close Thing. See, I have deadline knitting on the needles, and it’s all coming due in May.

Due Next Week:

I have a baby sweater I have to finish today so I can give it a wash and light block before I have to gift it Wednesday. It’s worsted so it’ll take a day or two to dry. There should have also been booties and a hat, too, but I doubt I’m going to make it. Well, the booties might make it. Maybe. We’ll see.

I have a Very Large Special Project which needs a lot of work done to it this week. And it’s being gifted on Thursday.

Due May 26:

I have a pair of fair isle mittens (my first colorwork ever) which need to be finished. I’ve knit the first and am about two-thirds of the way done with the second.

At least one cowl (hoping for 2, but it should be 3) out of worsted, but I don’t have a pattern for them. Might be winging this one. How hard could it be? Why are you laughing?

In my fantasy land, I’m also knitting 2 hats. Really. Stop laughing. It’s rude.

A Shaelyn shawl in black which also needs to be washed & blocked so it’s dry by the 26th. I have 1 1/2 more pattern repeats to do.

So the upshot is once I get through next Thursday, if I manage to get everything done I need done by then, I’m in good shape. The mittens will only take a few more days of concentrated knitting, and the Shaelyn is my purse project, so it will move forward steadily. The cowls & hats SHOULD only be about 2-4 days of knitting each, so…*fingers crossed*

And on top of all of this, I have school, appointments, and a number of books to review.

Of COURSE I’m not slipping into Holiday Knitting Delusions. What makes you think that? This is totally doable, right? 

Right???

*crickets*

Uh-oh.

Love,
Lynda the Guppy
aka Delusional Guppy

Read-A-Thon: Hour 6

11:09 a.m. (6+ hrs in) It’s Read-A-Thon day! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check my last post for more info. And no, I’m not crazy, and yes, I can count. Because of the time differences, each time zone starts at midnight Read-A-Thon time, not our local time zone time. This actually works to my advantage, as I’m a total night owl.

I’m not really competing as I know a lot of the participants are. Instead I’m using it as an excuse to clear out some of my TBR pile, and kickstart my reading again. I’ve been in a bit of a slump. 

Since I woke up this morning I’ve read a whopping….one….book. LOL Diana Palmer’s Wyoming Tough. I know. I know. Diana Palmer. What can I say? She’s my total guilty pleasure. I know how formulaic they are, and I know they’re total throwbacks to the old Harlequin/Silhouette style, but I love ’em. They’re like the cotton candy of books. They look good in theory, but once you get your hands into that sticky mess it’s hard to stop, and then after you’re done you wonder what they heck you were thinking. Still…I enjoy them.

This book actually surprised me. While it had the typical Diana Palmer standards (virgin heroine, asshole hero, false accusations, not NEARLY enough hero grovel), it seemed more updated than her usual fare. At least this time the heroine wasn’t 18. She also wasn’t the docile innocent her heroines tend to be. This one was strong, self-sufficient, and had been raised by her outspoken mother and fierce father to stand up for herself and take crap from no one. Which is exactly what she did. The hero, for his part, wasn’t quite as much of a jerk as her heroes normally are, which was a bit of a relief. I also saw hints of books to come. I hope Darryl finds someone to tango with. I liked him a lot.

I “competed” in one of the Mini-Challenges. This one was hosted by Reflections of a Bookaholic. This challenge said to turn to page 32 in the book I’m currently reading and pick the most entertaining phrase to complete the line “I would rather read than ________ any day!” Sadly, my best choice was “I would rather read than call me Tank any day!” Someone else entered with something from Jenny Lawson’s book, and, really, how can you compete with frozen snakes? 

Now…off to check out what’s next on the TBR list. Maybe the next one will be a review book. Hmm…

Oh, and I’ll be updating regularly, so don’t think you’re losing your mind. LOL

Read on!

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Reading Machine 

A Little Bit

There’s a scene in an episode of The West Wing where C.J. and Toby are talking about the upcoming Presidential debate and CJ says to Toby: He’s not a little bit crazy? Toby replies: No… No… No… A little bit.

That’s how I feel right now. Am I crazy? No. No. No. A little bit. LOLOL. 

I was reading my pal Marq’s blog, and saw she signed up for Dewey’s 24-hour Read-a-thon. I heard about it too late to participate last year, so I watched the insanity fly by and thought it looked like fun. I tried, I really did, to remember about the Read-a-thon, but I had completely forgotten. Once Marq reminded me, however, off I went to sign up.

Not sure what books I’ll be reading. I’m actually leaning towards not pre-selecting at all. I read more when I’m reading books I’m in the mood for, and who knows what I’ll be in the mood for in a month. And bonus? This will help me catch up on my Goodreads challenge of 251 books read this year. 

For more information, or to be a little bit crazy like us and want more info, there’s a FAQ page HERE where you can get more details and helpful tips and suggestions from previous years. Oh, and you don’t need a blog to participate. You can use Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc. There are mini-challenges and lots of prizes, so you all should really think about joining in.

We’ll also need cheerleaders, and you can sign up to be a cheerleader by going HERE for more info. Yay for cheerleaders!

See? A little bit. *grin*

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks 

Thankful

Today (and every day) I’m thankful for:

…My mom and dad for everything.

…Both my aunts and both my uncles for doing everything they do for my mom.

…My cousin A for all the “so there’s this book…” phone calls and black friday shopping and Ireland and going to the beach late one night in the middle of winter to get sand to send it to a soldier friend who was stationed in the middle east.

…My cousin C for for…well…being C and never learning to walk, but rather learned to strut, also the mohawk, and for choosing to serve his country. We miss you.

…My family back in Chicago, and even though I haven’t been back in years, and even though I’ve been bad about keeping in touch, I’m especially thankful for my Cousin S for reaching out recently and chatting with me like we last spoke yesterday. I DO miss you all. Wish I could be there for Christmas. Hey, does anyone have D’s recipe for those fruit pierogi? 

…My friends A and Cyn and T for being there all these years no matter what. You know that saying “friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies”? Well, that’s these three. I know I could call them any time day or night and they’d be on my doorstep with shovels, no questions asked. 

…My “old” knitting friends for being there every week and checking in with me to see how I’m doing and for making sure I’m hanging on, and for doing everything they can to help keep me going. 

…My “new” knitting friends for allowing me to crash their party and make me feel like they’ve been waiting for me to join in. 

…My friends, both “real” and “cyber”, for all they’ve brought to my life through the years.

…My yarn stash for being there and saving my sanity.

…The Container Store for making it that much easier for me to shop my stash.

…My local yarn store for allowing me to come in and just sit and knit without buying anything. Well, without buying MUCH. 

…and for everything else I didn’t list. 

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and spent it with those you love. I know I did.

Love,
Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka A Thankful Guppy 

A Pretty Thing for Diane (#16 of 30)

Waaaaay back in December (can’t believe it’s been a year already) I posted a list of knitting goals. Now, I’m not here to talk about which ones are finished and which aren’t. That’s for another day. Today, I’d like to revisit my friend Diane’s comments on Facebook:

you forgot to add ‘make something glorious for my very good friend Diane’ to the list… I’m sure it was just an oversight tho.

…And my response:

Lol so I did!

After some discussion about fibers, colors, etc., I puzzled and puzzed till my puzzler was sore (too early?) and I searched and searched for the perfect yarn. It had to be non-wool, as she was inconsiderate enough to be allergic to it. Really, I think I need to consider new friends. Way too many of the current ones are allergic. Right. Diane. Sorry. So I looked around at different yarns, and discovered Lorna’s Laces Honor yarn in a beautiful blue. Snagged the last skein, too!

I originally had tried a different pattern, but even though I am an experienced lace knitter, and even though I consider myself to be fairly “advanced,” I could NOT get more than a few rows in before I had to keep ripping back. I have a theory about that. If I’m fighting it THAT much, something’s not working. Wrong needles, wrong pattern, wrong yarn, something. So I let the universe have its way and went RavSurfing for a new pattern.

My friend Alyson actually picked out this pattern. She was knitting 2 of them at the same time, and I took a look and agreed it was the perfect thing. A bit lacy, but not delicate. Large sections of stockinette, so it would be a pretty fast knit, and adjustable as to the size, so I could make sure to use up every last bit of yarn (and boy, did I!).

Well, I finished in April, I believe. Took me until a few weeks ago before I had the time and floor space to give it a good blocking. After sitting around for a few weeks after THAT, I finally sent it off to Diane nearly a year after we first spoke about me knitting something for her. At this point she just knew I had knit something, not what it was. 

Of course, I sent it to the wrong zip code. *sigh*

I have to say that the USPS really stepped up on this. I called right away as soon as I realized it was going to come back to me as undeliverable. They told me if they were able to get in touch with the PO where it currently was, they’d be able to get it redirected to the correct zip. Unfortunately, it was Saturday and the local PO had closed an hour before. I told the USPS customer service that it was okay, and I’d just wait for it to come back and I’d ship it out again. Thanks for trying.

I get a text today from Diane. The package arrived. Apparently the USPS customer service person managed to get in touch with local PO after all and got the package redirected. Well done, USPS. Thank you.

Diane loves it, as I was sure she would. I’ll talk to her tomorrow, but in the meantime, now that she’s received her gift, I can finally share pictures of The Soft Thing for Diane. It’s a shawl, but, really, it could be used as a shawl, a scarf, a babushka, a chair cover, really whatever floats your boat.

And here’s the full shawl. It really turned out beautiful.

So to Diane, whom I hope has many, many more years to use and love this shawl. And know that if it ever needs reblocking, send it back. I promise it won’t take a year next time.

Love ya,

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka Knitting Ninja 

The Play’s The Thing (#15 of 30)

Okay, so we weren’t catching the consciousness of any kings, but why let that stop us?

I was able to attend the “opening night” of my friend Kelly‘s play, Glory on High. She wrote it under her pen name, Anne Eston, and it was wonderful. A funny performance where a mother and daughter are able to reconnect over making ornaments using paint that was…well…You’ll just have to check it out when the film is finished.

Yes, I said FILM. Frantic Lounge Films filmed both performances of Glory on High, so I look forward to watching it again on DVD!

I’m so proud of Kelly. She’s worked so long and hard on her writing, and it’s wonderful to see such exciting things happen for her, and I was honored to be trusted to help out in such a minor way. I’m glad I was able to help alleviate just the tiniest bit of stress for her. Love ya, Kels!

Three of my fellow Yarnivores attended with me! Pia, Kristin, Alyson, and I all piled into the car and headed down to Hollywood. For some bizarre reason, Pia left the house without her knitting! *GASP* That’s okay, though. I had ordered yarns for Alyson through Knitpicks, and we had needles and yarn in the backseat. Whew! Crisis averted! LOL Pia was able to cast on a lovely little seed stitch scarf while we were waiting for doors to open. 

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka A Satisfied Theatergoer 

I Got Nothin’ (#14 of 30)

Seriously. I got nothing for today. Today has been a long, long day, which started with a 17 mile drive that took us nearly 2 hours. Then after I dropped mom off, I went to dad’s for a visit and lunch. Fun, but then it was back to pick up mom, and it took us an hour to get home, then dinner, some errands, and we ended up walking in the door nearly 12 hours after we left. We’re exhausted.

So…the only thing I know right now is my cat is cuddly, my bed is cozy, the leftover pumpkin pie is tasty, and there is a pretty good chance that Alex O’Loughlin will lose his shirt at some point during this episode of Hawaii 5-0

See you all tomorrow.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka One Tired Little Guppy 

Knitting for the Holidays (#13 of 30)

I’m currently going through a tough time. I REALLY REALLY want to knit things for me, but I have a lot of Christmas knitting to do this year. I have a small thing for my mom for her birthday (which was over a week ago), a big thing for her for Christmas, not to mention my annual Christmas Ornament for my family members. I have a lot of knitting in a very short time!!!!

EEEEP!!!!

I have a lacy thing and a plain garter stitch thing in my knitting bag as relief projects for when the gift knitting gets to me and I just have to have a hit of something else before I go mad. LOL

So what, if anything, are you knitting for the holidays? Are you knitting gifts? What do you do to keep yourself sane while knitting gifts? Are you knitting for yourself as a balm to the insanity of gift giving? 

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka A Holiday Knitting Machine (no, not really)