Friday, March 22, 2019

i have returned....

 iphone pictures are always a blend of the entire. for some reason they always load oddly.  so here is a mixture of shots from the big adventure.

 it was a super fun trip.  great to be able to see the relatives that i rarely see...being there is always a better means of really being a part of the lives of those we love.  i realize i am here so i have put some distance there, but you hope that trips like this help bridge those miles between you. 
 i also have to admit that i develop more and more of a severe anxiety to flying in those big jets.  it felt like the sheer duration of the flights allowed the anxiety to build to the highest levels.  i try never to let the crazy close calls come back to haunt me, but that isn't reality in life i guess.  when a pilot comes on the speaker and says, "you need to listen to your flight attendants and prepare for a crash landing" it remains in you.  as i flew south the anxiety built, on the plane i was thinking that i may not be able to do long flights any more.  i was thinking Iceland is off the table.  i made it down and back though, intact. 
 i think many people suffer from anxiety in planes.  talking to co-workers last night and telling them about that time in the air that night, nearly an hour, waiting for a crash, that didn't end up coming....they mostly said they didn't think they could fly again after.  we fly though.  it's the reality of life in these days.  i may need valium or something in prep next time.  or i may need to opt for more stops with breaks between in order to allow myself to calm between flights.  i don't know the answers.
 so the trip in a nutshell.  flew down and got in late.  my grand niece kindly gave up her room for me.  we ended up meeting up with my one brother in the Houston area and his family at the local zoo.  it was hot as hell.  the humidity...how do people live there?  great to catch up with all of them.  meet the kids kids and the new family members that have joined in....still many out there i have never met.
 my niece and i hit the last part of the huge rodeo and then home to crash late.  we all slept in!!  later we met up again with my brother and his family at his daughters beautiful home for dinner.  another brother lives 4 hours away.  i told him i was coming down but he never really made any effort to make the drive down.  i left the details before our cruise to those who live down there.  we all make choices...he chose not to make coming down any sort of priority...maybe those political divides have had a deeper impact than even i imagined.  oddly, the thought occurs to me that i may never see him again...that is the age we are starting to get to.  when will i make that long flight down to Texas again?  he's even more afraid when it comes to travel than me so i doubt he will ever come north. just a strange thought and sad really. 
 we boarded the cruise ship the next day. 
 my niece and i scheduled massages on board while we were at sea...4 days total sea days.  she did the middle massage...it was a great choice i think.  otherwise we amused ourselves with pool time, shows, dining, games of "spit, speed, peanut butter" new rules created to allow JB below to have a chance at beating me...you had to say all three in order to actually win...haha.  she'd jump from bed to bed playing her mom and I. 
 she also enjoyed the climbing wall. CB made a run up there as well. i did not partake.  I'd brought games and fun bags for the kids so reading, yahtzee, boggle, puzzles, solitaire....it was beautiful forced relaxation.
 GB enjoyed time with the teen club on board. 
 we had three days of shore excursions.
 this was our last...in Cozumel.  we did a big, spendy package to play with dolphins, sea lions and manatees.  as my wise friend SH says, you remember the moments not the money spent and we all had an amazing day with these beautiful animals. the photos really show the joy of the experience on all of our faces. great way to beat the heat as well. 
 we also played ping pong a lot
 Cozumel was the most build up of the three stops...so i was happy it was last. 
 JP entertaining us with his moves out there after dinner!!
 our first stop was Roatan, in Honduras. it's on a island.  some of these places can be a bit dicey but we felt safe.  there were guns.  we were driven to a private resort across the island.  we saw machine type guns held at gas stations and the resort was gated with armed guards.  they snorkled, we kayaked and then we just chilled on the beach.  it was a beautiful beach.  the color of the water is just so amazing.
 the next day we had 12 hours on land so CB had arranged a tour out to the Mayan ruins.  Dzibanche and Kohunlich.  we ended up having a private tour with this gentleman below and a driver.  they were really great...the driver spoke no English but he was at our service.  CB picked these because you get to climb on them still so climb we did.  they are steep though and it was hot and my knee isn't what it used to be...still feeling that. 
 he would run to the top every time i started heading down and just give me  his hand...so kind, so sweet...so appreciated!!  another tour showed up where we were at both places, but really both were just behind us so it was like we had this private tour with just us and the ruins.
 this tour was out of Costa Maya.  it was a 2.5 hour drive to and from the ruins.  i liked the drives as it gave me an opportunity to glimpse more of the area...that beyond the tourist area.
 thankfully, my last flight home was a few late.  i felt a bit comforted because the pilot came on and said, if it's a bit messy in the cabin blame me...he'd kicked the cleaning crew off early so as to not delay us any further and get us all home to Anchorage.  he was born and raised here and he and the co-pilot both live here.  not sure why that helped but they were locals and it felt like i was already home...
 i had wine going south and benedryl heading north. neither really took the edge off as much as i would have liked.  it was great to be home. landing safe always is such a relief...then i feel foolish for being so anxious. 
 on the flight in i connected to the wifi video access.  watched most of "Boy Erased" but the last part just blipped off. 
 then i started to watch, "the marvelous Mrs Maizel"?  not sure.  i have watched a few more between shifts now.  i like it. 
 i was so convinced that i arrived at 3 am and had to work at 7 pm that night that i dressed up and headed to work.  only to discover that it was actually just Wednesday and i didn't have to work until Thursday.  so i came home.  the pups were happy to have me return again.  above is on board with my niece and her kids...beautiful sunsets and awesome weather.  always a breeze on the boat so that is great.
 we only had one day of rain and that was the last day on board and that day i went from the jacuzzi's to the chair to read, cards...then the massage.
 laughs with family in Texas.
 i did get through a night at work last night.  two more to go...i need to go get ready.
 really just wanted to drop a post to let folks know i survived. i am home and all is well. 
 here are a few of the ruins..you can see a bit how steep it was.  the steps were tall. 
 it is break up here. warm weather...in the 40's for the future it seems.  suppose to be great aurora tonight, but i head back to work.  i worked ICU last night.  my patients are both due to be withdrawn from care in the next few days so fairly low stress case load.  i got my evaluation done so check that off the list.  next the RQI and then April will be full of education days.  yikes. 
 my niece and my newer niece in law...great to meet AP finally.  congrats on the new home you guys!!
 flights were bumpy as usual but pretty views heading down.
 we had the party plane from Anchorage to Seattle.  3 hour flight, followed closely by a 4 hour flight.  just too long in the tube.
 more dancing.  i better get ready, feed the dogs and head to work. 
 great trip, fabulous memories and happy to  be home...
 lots of puppy snuggles....hope they don't know i snuggled with dolphins, sea lions and manatees....
thankful for: A.  safe travels B. new adventures C. time with family

Friday, March 8, 2019

Ivy is on to the plan...

 worked last two nights in PCU.  woke early today and have been running all day getting ready.  hate the process, hate the getting to/from but i know once I'm there it will be a fun vacation.  Ivy is for sure watching me...she sees the bag getting loaded.  as you can see we had this crazy beautiful sunset the other morning as i drove home from work.
 photo below by Karen Rode, thanks!  it was at the restart in Willow. 
 cleaned up the house a bit, changed the litter, picked up dog poop, packed, cleaned more, did laundry...travel is exhausting and i haven't left yet.  no ride for airport so I'll have to catch a cab.  pondering a return a day early since the boat comes in at 7 am...would be nice to have a 24 hour transition time.  will see when i get there, what they say. 
 took the dogs for a short walk in the dog park.  then i headed to the rack...Nordstrom, figured I'd see if there was any more cruise wear.  no idea if i have enough or too much as far as clothing goes but we shall see. i know i will not be the most fashionable person on the boat....but hopefully, people won't be staring and laughing either.
 had to make a quick run to the grocery as i discovered i was almost out of dry cat food.  since i was there anyway, i figured I'd better pick up some new makeup...i will deal with real humans and in the real world people wear make up.  i get totally lazy up here.  the stuff i have here is no doubt ancient so best to just toss and start over.
 posting lots of dog pics on facebook this week for folks to enjoy...everyone seems to like them. 
 someone posted a video of then on Portage Lake after it must have calved.  there was that rolling of the water beneath the ice..there was water splashing up through all the cracks...new and old i guess.  where they were shooting the video was about 2 miles out on the lake so they would still have to make a return trip.  they didn't mention how that went for them.  the ice looked pretty broken up. I'm sure once you turned away from the glacier the ice was a wee bit more stable, but not a good place to be this year.  some have been out there but it looked pretty sketch and clearly it was. stay safe out there.
 lots of laundry done today.
 have been busy with work and prep this week so haven't followed the Iditarod action too closely.  seems Joar and Petit are going back and forth in lead.  last i saw i think Petit was up top. Aily did get to half way point first, but i think that was mostly due to timing of 24 hour stops.  one scratch that i know of so far.
 i even got the garage cleared out and drove the element in...of course, it's super tight.  so tight it's probably going to be totally impractical to attempt to park in there.  still i guess if there were some super cold nights i could swing it. no way to open door wide enough to load dogs in there...i barely can load myself in there. so it's back outside...drat!!
 just a few things left on my to do list.  the house is cleaner, but not clean by any stretch!!
 the twins seem to be sticking close together out there on the trail. 
 so far Lance seems to be doing okay. i think they are expected lots of snow.  not sure what is going on at the coast, but they aren't there yet...
 my niece said she downloaded the app for the ship..so I'm trying to do the same.  my last cruise we were lucky to get email, which was still the newest rage...so yesterday now. 
 still bringing some old school stuff for entertainment.  may have to drag kids away from their phones and play some actual Boggle or Yahtzee
 not sure that there will be much wifi on board and if there is...at what cost.  last time i did quite a lot of walking on the upper deck...if i recall it was 3 laps to a mile.  just nice to be out there enjoying the fresh air.  not sure how warm it will be this time of year.
 wouldn't mind a little spa time, massage...generally a good option. 
 get to see some other family before my niece and i take off so that will be fun. 
 will be back soon enough with tales of the sea...hoping for safe and drama free travels to and from my destinations.  hoping the pups do fine without me.  I'll sure miss them though.  :-( 
thankful for A opportunity to explore and spend time with family B having the dogs all set up... C adventures of all sorts