Saturday, June 18, 2016
This weekend I celebrate three very special men in my life
My Father: When people ask me about my Dad, I tell them that he is the closest thing to a saint that I know. He is the most kind, energetic, loving person I have ever met. He is my leading man because I grew up knowing without a doubt that I was loved unconditionally. He showed me what to look for in a husband by being an example of how a man should treat a woman. He showed me what it meant to love sacrificially. He continues to show me what it means to have, not just a good work ethic, but what it means to have a happy to serve work ethic. He is the first man I ever loved and he is one of my best friends. He is my drinking (coffee drinking) buddy and I cherish each and every day he is in my life. I can’t imagine life without him.
My Husband: Mike is very close to being a saint as well, mainly because he puts up with me every day and he seems to actually enjoy it. Like my dad, he loves me unconditionally and cherishes me like most women only dream of being cherished. He is kind, gentle and never lets a day go by without telling, not only me, but our 3 children how much he loves them. He also has a work ethic that is seldom seen in our society. He is patient and slow to anger and I adore him. I am so blessed to for him be a father to our children, and Pop’s to our grandson. I am a luckiest girl to get to grow old with this precious man.
Beyond these three men are others who have mentored me, pastored me, friended me, and blessed me. They are too numerous to count, but in my heart I thank God for each and every one of them and the blessing they have been. If you want to be great, surround yourself with great people… I have a great life because it is filled with great people. Happy Father's Day to the men in my life, and thank you for making a difference in this girls life.
Thursday, June 16, 2016
The Alaskan cruise wasn't just about the places we visited, we had a great time while we were on the ship as well. Since the cruise was a 35th wedding celebration for both couples, one night our waiter surprised us each with a heart-shaped fudge treat which was too sweet for even my sweet tooth. They made an announcement over the intercom about..... Well, I can't exactly say what they said because I wasn't paying attention (imagine that), but whatever they said lead me to believe the wait staff was going to sing or something. Imagine my surprise when our waiter reached over and took my hand. My eyes must have been as big as saucers when he gestured for Mike and me to dance to "That's Amore". I resisted at first.... I mean, I'm not one who enjoys being in front of a crowd unless it's my intention to do so, (like when I did a play with our local theater). But, even more surprising was my quiet husband's reaction. Mike is 10 times worse about wanting to keep a low profile and avoiding the limelight than I am. I was stunned when he didn't skip a beat and immediately took my hand and began to dance. When he saw my discomfort he tried to calm my nerves, and asked why I was frazzled.... "Because I wasn't expecting this" He laughed at my hesitation and asked..... "Do you know why it doesn't bother me to dance in front the entire dining room?" .... "Yes, I would love to know the reason for that!! You usually hate this kind of thing." He laughed and said.... "Because, see all of these people? I don't know any of them and I will never see them again, so Honey Badger just doesn't care." I had to laugh at that, because Honey Badger is our favorite YouTube video in spite it's irreverent language. I finally relaxed and enjoyed the moment. I was made more comfortable when another couple seated a few tables away were put on the spot. When they tried to resist the spontaneous dance, the waiter brought them over by us and instructed them.... "Just do what they are doing." Regardless of the amount of urging and encouraging, not everyone could be positively influenced into letting their hair down, metaphorically speaking. All I can say is those who didn't missed a great opportunity to create a moment to be remembered. Those little moments will be forever treasured like nuggets of gold.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
And then there is the crown jewel of them all. Most people do not go on an Alaskan Cruise only to be excited about the chance to visit Victoria BC.... Or, maybe they do. Maybe it's the name..... Or, maybe it's the fact that when a co-worker went, she said they hired a driver to escort them around in a car like they use for the Queen. When I heard that..... I said..... "Oh, I could totally wear a tiara".... I can hear you say.... "Oh, no, surely she wouldn't" To which I can assure you.... "Oh, I totally did!" I found the website with that particular car and Doretta arranged for the driver to pick us up at port and give us the grand tour
of Victoria. This was the best experience ever. Well, maybe not ever, but it was pretty high on the list. First of all, Gilles P. Proulx, the owner of the car picked us up and treated us like royalty. The car is a 1990 Daimler Limousine. Mr. Proulx put American Flags above the headlights in our honor, which I thought was a thoughtful gesture. This Gentleman, and I say that with all sincerity, went above and beyond to share his passion and love for Victoria with us. From the minute he picked us up, he gave us as much information as possible about Victoria. He answered every question without hesitation.... It was as if
Victoria was a breathing part of him. Doretta and I had discussed prior to our trip whether we should visit the Butchart Gardens. We were only in Victoria for 4 hours so we decided against it. Mr. Proulx encouraged us to go, even though it would be dark. He walked us to the gate and handed us a map. He told us exactly how long he thought it would take for us to have an adequate tour and said he would be waiting for us when we returned. It was twilight when we walked into the gardens, and immediately we were in awe. Truly there are no words to adequately describe how beautiful and serene it was. The beauty was so intense, it felt like we were in a Disney movie. As the sun set, we found the surroundings just
as beautiful and surreal due to the use of lighting which only enhanced the experience. We followed the map and were very disappointed we didn't have more time to linger. I kept telling saying.... "Oh, how I wish Daddy could see this.... He would love it" With each twist and turn, we found another surprise. The sunken garden caught us off guard. We walked up to it and found the center lit up with a beautiful fountain of water and lights. The Rose Carousel like something out of a fairytale. It was made of
intricately carved animals, painted in vivid colors. When we wrapped our tour, Mr. Proulx was waiting for us, just as he said he would be. We continued around other parts of the City as he explained the history and answered all of our questions. My husband and I wanted to see Craigdarroch Castle while we were there. We knew it would be too late to tour, but we wanted to drive by. Mr. Proulx not only drove us by, he stopped and explained the history behind it, then he offered to take photos. We walked around the Castle and when we came back to the front, he said..... "Princess, it's getting late, we had better
get you back to the ship before you turn into a pumpkin." He was too much of a gentleman for me to suspect he was hinting that maybe I had visited the chocolate buffet one too many times while at sea. I was sad to leave. As we drove back to the ship, he continued his tour and stopped to take pictures for us. I have a bit of a time phobia, or maybe it's abandonment issues even though I've never been abandoned. Regardless, when I saw the time I was anxious. He assured me we would be back to the ship on time. He
was absolutely right. As we were walking up to the ship, they began to take down one of the boarding ramps.... I was very close to having a panic attack, but my husband calmed me down, telling me they wouldn't leave us when they could see we were coming. He knows me well. He could tell I was within seconds of..... "Having kittens" as he calls it (my panic attacks). Our visit to Victoria was the best memory of the trip. Mr. Proulx's passion was so infectious, it made us all want to visit Victoria at a time when we could stay a while. Victoria in itself is a vacation fit for a princess.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Our final Alaskan port was Ketchikan. Mike was so sick with a raging fever, there wasn't a discussion as to whether he would get off with us, and strangely, my cousin's husband (Jerry) decided to hang back and stay on ship as well. If I were an offend-able person, which I am not, I might think he didn't want to spend the day with me sans Mike. Fortunately, I know how exactly much Jerry enjoys spending time with me. He doesn't show it in a visible way, but I can read between the lines and see there is joy bubbling in his little heart whenever we are together. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over. Doretta and I were excited to have some good ole' girl time. We hitched a free ride on the downtown bus, which to the Totem Heritage Center. We enjoyed the beautiful gardens. When we finished walking around the gardens, we caught the bus and went back downtown. Since the day we landed in Seattle, both of us had been craving crab legs. Both of our guys thought we should wait until we could got home to Red Lobster to eat crab legs. Since we had no adult supervision, we decided to treat ourselves to a crab leg feast at Annabelle's Keg
and Chowder House.... It was delish. We walked around downtown before getting back to the ship a little early. We had a great time together, as we always do. We were a little sad, although not visibly so, that they guys missed the whole girls gone wild in
KatchMeiIfYouCan... I mean Ketchikan. But a girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do, and in this case it meant a family bonding moment for me and my favorite Cuz.
Sunday, June 5, 2016
If anyone tells you that you have to purchase expensive excursions to enjoy the beauty of Alaska, I can tell you that is absolutely not the truth. We hadn't been at sea very long before we began to see whales. If you pay attention while you are sitting on deck, you can see a lot of things. They also have a naturalist onboard and spotters who will announce over the intercom when and where wildlife can be spotted. It's exciting to be sitting there drinking your morning coffee and spot a whale blow in the distance. Our second port was Skagway, and like Juneau, we didn't have an excursion planned. We had, however done some research and found there was a national park within walking distance of port which provided walking trails in the middle of the beautiful Alaskan landscape for the low, low price
of $0.00. We walked through town to the park and took our time strolling through the woods. We found a beautiful rocky area that looked over the water. We basked in the sun and listened to nature at it's finest. There are good things and there are bad things about letting me out in the wild. I feel like I should have a hazard warning tattooed on my forehead... "Warning, tends to do impulsive things" I like to explore and if water is involved.... I want to be near it, or in it, or at to least touch it. We walked through the part of the park where the trail was right above the water. I really, really, really wanted to touch the water and although it didn't look like the bank was designed for you (or me) to actually go down to the water, I thought it looked like a doable thing. So, I hip hopped (which is something I've been known to do in the woods) down to the sandy gravel embankment that looked pretty stable. It wasn't. The minute I stepped off the path, the sandy gravel
gave way. Not to worry.... I figured a few more steps down and everything would become more stable..... It did not. So, I abandoned my efforts to touch the ice cold water and casually began to climb back to the trail like nothing was wrong. The problem was, the sandy gravel was so unstable, every time I took a step the earth moved under my feet. That would make an excellent song title. Just when I thought I had myself in a pickle, I managed to get back up to the trail. I would love to tell you that my trail mates were beside themselves with worry and tried in vain to help me get my footing back, but strangely they were so enthralled with their surroundings, they didn't realize the pickle I was, or almost was in. Well, even if Jerry had realized it, he would have taken the opportunity to stand on the trail and hurl lame remarks at me while I was vulnerable..... That's the kind of love affair we share and I would happily to do the same for him, only my remarks would be more witty. Unfortunately, or fortunately, however you want to look at it, we didn't happen upon any furry friends eager to the petted. If I couldn't touch the water I at least wanted to pet a bear... Right? Dangit! All in all, unlike the hustle and bustle of downtown and it's many jewelry shops, the park offered exactly what we wanted..... The chance to get in touch with the beauty of Alaska..... And that we did, although not quiet as close as I would have like.... I just wanted one little touch of the water.... Put it on the bucket list for next time.
|This with Me and Butt.... I mean Jerry (Not Pictured)|