Partially Retired

We are both excited and terrified at the same time, its retirement time! 6 years of planning, multiple planning meetings, eating at home, packing lunches, working overtime for years, driving used cars, we have no cottage, no RVs, no 4 wheelers, using coupons, garage sale shopping, reviews of income, savings, planning.. plan some more and January 1, 2021 or original plan is almost here. David will delay ~35days after January 1st and retire the first week of February. I have already stopped working at so many clients, and should be down 30% on work January 1, 2021, then moving on and less work with the end of a contract March 30, 2021. Our only income will be my part time job at Ascension hospitals, a few Nuclear medicine facilities and our Physics education website. Almost time to celebrate. Next post will be all the people/nay sayers that have told us how wrong we are to retire at 52years old and how we responded.

It’s my Birthday!

I am a young 52 years old today, and celebrating this entire year for sure! My plans are to make this year more about me and David. Taking better care of ourselves. We definitely have given most of ourselves away for years and this is going to finally be a time for us. David and I will both be retiring in 2021, David first in January – he is full time retiring. I am going to work part time at my job, but going to join him as soon as I can figure out how to pay for medical for both of us. So exciting and looking forward to this immensely Wish us luck!

Panaderia Espana Bakery

We always ask our Uber drivers the best places to eat, this guy was right a best bakery for sure. Panaderia Espana Bakery: https://www.facebook.com/PanaderiaEspana/

Octopus 🐙 in a lite vinegar marinade

We ate pastry so lite, they were air, and octopus marinade in a vinaigrette. A local coconut pudding, and beef empanada, ham croquettes, whew I’m full. Think we will sit for awhile. But that paella looks so good…

BioLuminance Bay, Puerto Rico

Well as soon as I heard about a Bioluminance bay and that Puerto Rico has three of the five, David and I made plans to come during the New Moon. Since you are in the Bay in the pitch dark, the darker the better to see it, and a New Moon is perfect for seeing bioluminance! Of all the TripAdvisor bioluminous bay choices, the swimming experience sounded better than the kayak trip. Who wants to kayak thru the glow when you can straight up swim in it! I was honestly not expecting much based upon the stories I heard from others who went to a bioluminous bay, they said they were in Kayaks, and had to hold tarps of their heads to see even the mildest glow.

We will have to add pictures later, because David has a few, but honestly he is going to have to tweak them, even the couple we were on the boat with took pictures, and theirs were better, but they just do not show up on the blog (yet!) they are coming, but I have this one picture of the boat and the glow trail. The captain said even National Geographic had a hard time photographing this experience, so I guess you just have to see it with your own eyes.

An evening swiming in the bioluminouse bay in Puerto Rico.  One of my favorite experiences of all times.
mild blue glow around the boat engines. .more pictures to come later.

The tour picks you up at the hotel in a van, our driver was Hector. It was a 2.5hr drive from San Juan to the sleepy and mostly boarded up town of la Parguera, PR. You could tell this town was an incredibly fun multi colored and muraled vibrant hot spot, with now most bars, restaurants and shopping Covid closed. I would say, four locations were open on the entire boardwalk. We had a quick stop for a drink, and bathroom break, then jumped on a fishing boat similar to a Boston Whaler owned by Captain Jose.

He took us out to a quick stop at a dock to walk around for pictures, then at dark we hoped back in to drive to the bay.

So to visually explain what we saw, when we pulled up into the bay, it was a mild glow on the side, when looking into the water. We stopped mid bay and I jumped in first, because I could not wait, Captain Jose screams with delite because he can see the glow from the splash, and he says I do that everytime because I still am like a kid everytime I see it. The water was warm and we could not touch the bottom, I swim fine, but asked for a foam noodle so I could focus on the glow. I anxiously looked around for the glow, and there it is all around you….it is like swimming in tiny pin like stars, or baby blue laser points, randomly everywhere. You move around and see the pin lights just for a few seconds and then they fade. I honestly laughed or smiled with complete glee the entire time I was in the water, I could see the tiny blue glows clear like a thousand flashlights in the dark. I looked around to see if the captain tricked us and there was a laser on board, but there wasn’t. It only happened when you swished the water, or moved around. My favorite part was holding your arm up from the water and watching the blue specks flow down your arm like diamonds draping and falling away into the water, dozens each time. We did not bring face masks but the couple we were with did and they borrowed one to use momentarily and it was like being in space, with stars rocketing past us as we swam. I could have spent all night there. David said it was like little fireflies swimming in the water or running down your arms.

We had about 40mins to swim, it felt like 15, I loved it. I must admit I did briefly think about sharks, but they did not bother us and when back on the boat, Captain Jose said they do not like the warmth of the bay.

Why it glows… another post future, but hint…. its not radiation.

Random cats and gelato in old San Juan

Just two random cats we saw enjoying a hot afternoon siesta.

More kitties from random locations

Anita’s Gelato, San Juan

Then a delicious Gelato, a 10 on both flavors. I had chocolate pretzel carmel, David had chocolate almond carmel. But we both agree mine was better, the salty crunch was perfect

Traveling during Covid

We have bad wanderlust, bad! I’m having trouble focusing at work and home since I have worked all thru Covid and hard. I had to get away, so Orlando here we are! We are headed to San Juan, Puerto Rico , we like to be last minute.

But this is what we have learned with covid travel… so far early into our trip.

  1. To go to Puerto Rico and fly on some airlines you must have a negative Covid test within 72hours negative, or you cannot go!
  2. Getting a rapid Covid test requires some real work and investigation. We barely go it done.
  3. Spirit airlines does NOT social distance at all, there is NO separation between seating, zero. All seats were filled, 100% occupancy.
  4. The hotel websites might say breakfast and free shuttle, but Covid probably shut that down, do not expect any extras.
  5. Extras including cleaning your room with housekeeping daily, that is apparently not happening at any hotels. No beds made when you come back after a long day of just relaxing at the beach.
  6. In Puerto Rico, you must wear your mask ALL the time, even on the beach, even when walking down the street, even if no one is around, if the police pull up, they will make you mask it! Pretty much everyone does wear a mask everywhere.

A drink and bite on the beach

Lunch of chicken and pork empanados? Were not sure, but it was local and tasty. It took a few minutes to make but they were fresh and really good.

Next we stopped at the Wicked Lily, Condodo beach Puerto Rico for an afternoon drink at the beach. I had the Lily’s Colada, rich and creamy. The burnt pineapple topper was so crisp and tasty.

Marine City, MI Date Night with David

While we cannot travel, we still can enjoy each other and date each other, so tried a new place, the Marine City Fish Company. We were told, get a reservation, but we did not need one at 4:30pm on a Friday, the only time they told us they had one, it was fine, we are dieting and starving, so eating early sounded great to us. I would recommend a reservation after 5:30pm for sure. The weather was PERFECT for walking around town afterward.

Beautiful night to walk around and enjoy the fall weather!
David told me how one time many years ago he went scuba diving at this exact spot, that was BL – Before Laura time.
We shared the scallops and they were delicious
I also ordered a salad, but couldn’t finish it, so lunch on Saturday.
Really cute decor.
Fun Fall date nite in Marine City, MI
I wanted a drink, but was the designated driver, I would have ordered a Coho Cosmo – next time.

Happy Labor Day

We had two parties this weekend, first a dinner for my moms birthday 85years old, and then an ice cream party yesterday for their 64th Wedding anniversary. Both celebrations were September 3rd, but thought why not celebrate twice on two days, twice the fun! So we did, both September 3rd, and September 6th. More to enjoy. Love my family!!!

My parents getting ready to enjoy a steak dinner for the first party, we also had lemon shrimp pasta with capers, and vanilla cupcakes with a light fluffy cream frosting for dessert.

Garion was enjoying 2nd part with the dessert and ice cream bar (6 types of ice cream), with some small appetizers of butter and radishes, spaghetti, a cheese platter, chips and dips, and salami with cheese and pickles.

Fourth of July visit with our son

We will try and visit him again one more time before the end if the year, but, glad to have the short time.

Our son is in the airforce in Dover, Delaware. He has 2 years in his 4 year contract and settled nicely and is thriving. He asked us to bring him his things, because he is finally in an apartment and wanted it to feel like home, not and empty space with a bed, couch and coffee maker. So we packed it up and drove on over. Michigan to Delaware is about 12hours of driving with a trailer, but seeing him was incredible. He has really grown as a person, he seems- happier, stronger mentally, calmer, smarter, more respectful and overall I would say the grown into a fine young man. I was beaming the entire weekend.

I honestly have a greater inner peace after this visit with him, moms worry, its our job. But after this visit, I feel calmer about him and his chosen path.

So overall one if the best July 4th weekend ever!

Out to dinner with my children

Grocery Shopping has become really hard

Wish I was posting on our travels, but Covid-19 locked down still. So this is what I do, work all day often at home, but still a lot in the hospital or doctors offices working until dinner time, then clean, cook, watch TV at night with my husband David. Not much to talk about, but did want to say, here in the Detroit Michigan area, we have Covid-19, fairly severe and I am grocery shopping every week for my family and my parents and starting this week with my mother in law. So it is hard, we get our list, get their lists and then put on our masks and we shop with separate baskets (because I mix things up and that causes issues). About 1.5hours to shop, then we wait in really long lines for 30mins – 6 feet apart, then load it into the car and go home and wipe it all down with bleach water then put away our groceries and then drive the rest to our families. It takes pretty much all day, which is fine.

I have noticed EVERY time I have shopped for the last 5 weeks, I have been accosted, or yelled at or was standing right in front of some one who was yelling at someone else. I have never yelled back or raised my voice. Some examples: Was told:

1-“wearing a mask just holds in the germs – it is wrong”

2- “your walking the wrong way down the isle – this is a one way isle, why don’t you know that – look at the floor” He really smugly walked away with his nose in the air – and Nope I did not know.

3- Saw a shopper try and pick up some coffee creamer from the milk shelf, and the store worker who was loading it told her – to “get off my ass” then the shopper said “sorry I was ON your ass” then the shopper said – let me speak with your manager and the store worker said ” get her yourself I am busy working” then the shopper cried and looked at me, I had my mouth open and looked at the store worker and then she made a head butt move toward me. BTW, told the manager about that whole thing.

There were other rude shoppers as well, many more stories. So I came up with a response so my mouth can do more than hang open. Tell me what you think.… “I know things are hard for all of us right now- but speaking like that is not respectful to me and while things are still happy in my life right now, I will not accept it” If I get trouble, my husband is shopping around the corner, and I am going to tell them then – “I will call my husband and the two of you can talk about this further if you like”

I will honestly listen to whatever you have to offer in suggestions, I am empathetic and willing to listen.

Happy Mothers Day

This Mothers Day we are spending at home, having ham and potato dinner. We visited my Mother and Father Yesterday when we grocery shopped, and my brother is stopping over today. We picked up Mom a hanging basket, a Polish Bird but from metal on a stick which we proudly placed in her front yard, and a whole lot of yummy snacks from the Polish Hamtramck store (the only open one) and our local grocery store. Wish we could hang out at home in the backyard together, but it is cold and overcast and rainy. Missing my son as well, who is in the Air Force, but he already texted and said he would call later today.

These are the kitty and puppy cupcakes we made for dinner and to give out to my parents and my girlfriend.

This is our real puppy giving herself a back rub, we call it her happy Dance!

Happy Mothers Day everyone!

Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful and hardworking mothers.
She is making me laugh in this photo!

David needs arm Surgery tomorrow

Well, I have not written in over a week, because between all the work we have been doing around the house on Quarantine and me working at the hospital and at home. David has been working around the house – ALOT, and well he was putting in the dock he built and the ramp was stuck underneath – so he lifted it up and … POP! He has a partial distal bicep tear, so steroids and no improvement. We could do physical therapy, but was told 20-40% less strength would be the probable result, we asked about surgery, but in our area, non emergency surgeries are not being performed because our hospitals are FILLED with Covid patients. So at best it is a two week hold on surgeries and then his is in line behind over 100 patients who have more severe injuries. This is Dave with his dock. Proud even injured.

I have a cousin who is an orthopedic surgeon, he lives about 2.5hours away from us, but we got a second opinion, and he said he needs surgery sooner than later, they have openings for surgery tomorrow. So we are headed out early tomorrow to an outpatient surgery. We are accepting prayers for an easy surgery with no nerve damage and a speedy recovery. Should know more tomorrow.

We also cut down three trees, then chipped them up. Fixed a park bench I garbage picked from way back, it looks really good.

Bridgetown, Barbados – Jolly Roger Pirate Cruise

We are back for awhile now, but posting on our Jolly Roger Cruise. This was so fun – we would both take this cruise again in a heart beat. We were picked up at the cruise ship dock, we took a short ride to the boat, where we had the chance to buy a lunch – either buffet or hamburger – we just ate breakfast, so shared a $5 hamburger. Good thing, because the rum punch on this cruise was triple charged and we needed the lunch. Rum was free.

First we snorkeled and saw baby sea turtles, and a sunken ship – wish we had more time here, but time flies by when your having fun. Wish we had some pictures to share of the baby sea turtles, but hard to carry a phone underwater.

Then we headed about 30 minutes away and they pulled out a plank, a pirates plank and we all jumped off, then a rope swing.

Fort George, Grenada

We are just walking around, and I see a fort at the top of the hill. It is HOT out, but I want to check it out, so we start walking. The streets are difficult to walk – because they are narrow with steep uneven sidewalks, or sometimes no sidewalks and cars are moving by quickly. We brave it and sweat our way to the top. The fee was $2 each to enter. The fort is now a police academy and we see them working on polishing shoes in the top portion, and young men working out hard in another section of the fort. It is a wonderful view and there were several cool spots in between the fort walls, the top has a breeze but brilliant sunshine. We check out the variety of cannons, some just tossed off bases and scattered.

View from the top!
Check out how Davids hat is blowing off in the wind in this shot!

Windy but beautiful!

Our cruise ship below, Royal Carribean – Vision of the Seas
Inside the fort, some point a basketball court.

Walking around Grenada

While we are back and quarantine at home, I am posting on our trip just a few/two weeks ago. We had a day in port at Grenada and nothing planned so decided just to walk around everywhere…. a few pictures to share of our walk around the bay.

Fishermen boats all over the bay.

Locals were lined up to buy a small bag of fish from the boat.

Selling corn on the grill was also a purchase on the street, the corn was hard (we called it cow corn on our farm growing up), but for some reason it was a unique tasty treat, like dried roasted popcorn. I ate most of the ear just walking around town. Now we are headed to the fort on the top of the hill!

Bacardi Tour, Puerto Rico

What should we do other than eat, swim, sleep in late, enjoy each other, and hang out on a Beach…. we decided to Tour the Bacardi Distillery. We Uber it over… and David says as we pull into the Bacardi complex, they should name a building after you. I do love Bacardi Silver Rum!

The Sunrise, a sweet orange tropical drink we could purchase upon arrival.

We decided a history tour of the distillery, a mixology course on three infamous Bacardi drinks. All super delicious and what a fun experience, we were laughing thru the entire mixology course. We are sharing a few pictures of our time here. More to be added as soon.

Coins we were given to purchase one drink upon arrival, we both choose the sunrise drink. Orange, Lime, Grendine, Rum – Delicious!
My finished product of a Bacardi Mojito at our Mixology course.

More pictures to add this afternoon, awaiting David’s photos to add, and lets face it, his are superior to mine.

Johnny Sanchez lunch. New Orleans

On the way walking to another parade I saw this Mexican restaurant and the chips with plantains and salsa caught my eye.  A quick snack that turned into a lunch.  I guess you cant eat southern creole the whole trip…. well I could, but just sounded great and it was.

This cauliflower taco was one of the best things I have ever eaten.
A meatball taco, where the meat was so smooth it was divine.  The waitress told us both tacos are award winning and we believe it.
Wall art
Chuly inspired chandeliers
These plantains were so crispy perfect.
Aaron Sanchez owns this place and I love him from food network, masterchef and chopped. Excellent choice for a mini meal.

Reschedule a trip

We are consider a short trip to Puerto Rico to fill our Cancelled trip to China. But there was just an Earth Quake there recently, so if we do go, we are going to have to take some helper supplies, will look into that and what to bring. Will do my research and get back on the plans.

Putting off our China trip

Decided last night we are going to have to put off our China trip not because we’re scared of being sick with Corona virus but because we’re scared of being quarantine.

The idea of being locked in a room for 3 weeks when we arrive and not seeing the sites, or coming home and being forced to quarantine for 3 weeks to beyond scary to me. We have always felt just sitting on a couch or stuck at home is the worst thing for us. So a delay to September is planned. Luckily we can do this for only a $68 penalty each. Worth it to us. New trip to be planned to replace it soon.

Starbucks Chicago Roastery

Well our friends Bruce told us there was a HUGE Starbucks on Michigan Ave, with a spiral escalator and it was four stories tall with a line for coffee on every floor and a medium would cost us $7.00. We had to check it out!

Yep, everything Bruce promised, plus so much more. Starbucks – Chicago Roastery is incredible. If you like coffee, this is the place for you, and $7.00 is worth it for the coolness factor of just visiting.
Making the coffee in a reverse glass coffee pot, very cool! Chicago Roastery – the Disney of Coffee Shops!

This is soooo cool, the coffee starts at the bottom, boils up to the top, then drops to the bottom, is filtered out and put in a fancy cup!

Four Stories of coffee beans in tubes – check out the spiral escalator at the edges, and a video below!

This is a spiral Escalator – Yep, very cool!

The view from inside, but way to cold to go outside on the patio.

Lobby at the FireKeepers Hotel – 7 pillars of the Tribe Battle Ck, MI

The Lobby at the FireKeepers hotel is a Huge entrance with a light up tower at the center, and seven pillars of the Tribe and humanity surrounding it.

– Humility, Wisdom, Love, Respect, Bravery, Truth, Honesty. Love is my favorite. David’s favorite is Bravery.

Love the local Indian tribe history and will be sharing a book I purchased on the history of the Casino Indian Tribe the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi in the gift shop as soon as I am done reading it. You can read more on the Hotel History at this link: https://firekeeperscasino.com/about/our-story/

Huge center tower
1sec video of the light tower

Weekend at FireKeepers Hotel and Casino, Battle Creek, MI

I had some work to complete in Battle creek, so we decided to spend the weekend at the local Casino and Hotel – Firekeepers. Typically when I work and stay in the area, we stay in downtown Kalamazoo – at the Radisson Plaza Hotel. The downtown Kalamazoo area has so many local places to walk to and if I am working all day, this leaves a lot of options for David. But we wanted to try out the Casino/Hotel even though David would be stuck there while I worked. He slept in late, then hit the pool and gym, the casino and I was back by that point to spend the late afternoon and evening with him. A great getaway weekend with my wonderful Husband. Oh and David played Pai Gow for a few hours and ….. only lost $40, ha! He was up for a few hours, but that is gambling, don’t play if you want to win.

Firekeepers Hotel weekend.
David was able to work out (no free weights at site) but he used the elliptical – then sauna, then steam room and a cool dip in the pool, he was almost alone the entire morning.
Inside the casino. The lights were stunning and changed color along with the music playing.
Video of the casino, but no table pictures per the staff rules.
You can win this low rider! We did not win… well yet, contest is still on.
They are building a second hotel tower on, so business is good. There is seven on site places to eat here, from a buffet to a higher end restaurant and a sports bar. There is also a auditorium or music venue here, and you can watch Michael Bolton or Boz Scaggs, later this year, we wanted to see Bill Engvall, but have too much going on.

Firekeepers hotel, Battle creek, mi – Date night

It’s my birthday weekend we decided to go to FireKeepers hotel to enjoy ourselves but as well as me work at the local hospitals in the area. New job through snow in 40 mile per hour winds to arrive at the hotel we decided to eat here at Nibi restaurant.

We enjoyed everything as if we never ate before. Incredible food and location. David ordered the meat and cgeese appetizer. Which had a delicious goat cheese, cranberry cheese, local honey and tomatillo pineapole berries.

I had the shrimp and scallops grits. Smboth and cheesy- perfection cooked.

Love my husband and our lives together.

We booked a Trip to China!

Thank you for the votes on our previous post, we took your advice and we are headed to Shanghai, China. We really looked into just traveling ourselves, and found out from many traveling for the first time to China you should really use a tour company. My brother has been to China for work a dozen times – he strongly recommended this advice. So our search for the best tour group started with TripAdvisor reviews, Groupon getaways, and Travelzoo deals. After weeks of research we settled on Stunning Tours. The 16 Day Panoramic China trip includes all our hot spot visits – Beijing 4 nites with the Great Wall, Xian with the Terra Cotta Warriors, a Small Cruise ship down the Yangtze River, (bonus of Suzhou and Hangzhou) then 3 nights in Shanghai for my ultimate – Disney Shanghai

Three Radiation lectures in one month

I was guest speaker at Henry Ford Hospital on “What to do if the NRC shows up at your facility”.

Then Guest speaker at Ferris State University on “The recent Authorized Users – Final Rules”. Then attended a lecture on “Creating Radioistopes for Strategic and medical application suing a superconducting electron linac” Liked the last one the most, because I was just learning, not speaking. but sharing some photos of my month of Radiation Lectures and my friends I was able to snap a few photos of.

With my Boss, at a lecture for Health Physics Society.
I will post the SouthEast Nuclear Medicine Society Lecture at Henry Ford Pictures after my husband shares them with me.
Too much weekend stuff, looking forward to just relaxing this next weekend!

Renaissance Festival – Michigan

We are so far behind on posting, but have been busy living life. Took the kids to the Renaissance Festival three weekends ago, then it rained, REALLY rained, and the mud was ankle deep, so we left, but not before we had a few hours of fun, and I touched some poison Ivy and still working on healing that up. David can touch the stuff with this bare hands, I have the wind blow when I am next to it, and I covered.

So David, Garion and Sabrina dressed up, but not Katrina or me. Garion met his mother at the fair, so we have no pictures of him, but he had a wonderful time.

With and without a flash, moving the frame around,not sure which Game of Thrones chair picture we like the most.

It was getting cold out and Katrina used a blanket until it started to POUR Down soon after this picture.

Cool picture of a guy costume we loved!

A band we love listening to – they moved in close off the stage, as it was raining out and the equipment was mostly covered.

Chateau d’If – Count of Monte Cristo – Marseille France

David and I have both been working so hard over the last two week, and trying to catch up at work from all our summer travels. All this hard work has us reflecting on our past travel and working hard toward our current travels.

We are sharing a previous trip we took a few years back to Marseille, France and Chateau d’If. David insisted we go to the prison where the Count of Monte-Cristo (a mythical book published in 1844) was based. David loves the book of the man, Edmond Dantes, who makes a wonderful comeback from prison to a Count with revenge. David loved the book so much he insisted I watch the movie together prior to our trip, and I was impressed as well.

We purchase our tickets and take the taxi boat over to the island, it is a crystal aquamarine blue and green Mediterranean sea, contrasted by a harsh rock island.
David and I soak in the surroundings and stop for a conversation of the site and to enjoy each other in the moment. We toasted the sea, the prison and how blessed we are to be together.
Marseille, France in the background with a toast of coffee and wine.

3 Best things on our Ruby Princess Alaska Cruise Trip

If you have followed us for even just a few posts, you have noticed we like to keep our posts nice and short and to the point. On our recent trip to Alaska we enjoyed these three things the most:

1- The peaceful, spiritual feelings when out in nature. Whether we were staring at a glacier, hiking thru the woods, or out in the bay watching whales. We loved the outdoor time. Alaska is truly the last frontier feeling for us and we absorbed it all in. So the walk over to the Mendenhall glacier/Nugget fall, the Whale watching tour and the time off the bus ride that took us up the mountains – were all the best. Laura was truly not interested in going to Alaska, and agreed for David, who wanted Alaska for years, but Laura became a true believer in Alaska and we both cannot wait to return.

2- The Ruby Princess Cruise ship was beautiful with many high end accents everywhere. Compared to Holland America it was decadent. There was a greater cross section of people on the Princess Cruise, all age ranges and style and we preferred that over Holland America significantly older cruise ages. The Food was superior on the Holland America Ship, but both ships were really tasty.

3- The time together. We are still really in love and find each other interesting to be around, we are each others best friends and playmates. When we are at home, we are so busy with work and kids and household chores. It was nice to enjoy each other again.

We are back to real life, and going to catch up on a few posts, but still enjoying our trip and the memories.

Date Night back on Ruby Princess Leaving Alaska

Were back on the Ruby Princess Cruise ship and having a date night. We are celebrating our Anniversary on Board, before headed over to Vancouver, British Columba. We buy the upgraded King Crab dinner for $29.00 each.

Having crabs for dinner

Its a love boat Anniversary Cake!

We did think the upgrade pricing was worth it, and enjoyed the nite celebrating!

Ulu Knife from Alaska

What is an Ulu? An ulu is an all-purpose knife traditionally used by Inuit, Yupik, and Aleut women. It is utilized in applications as diverse as skinning and cleaning animals, cutting a child’s hair, cutting food, as a weapon and, if necessary, trimming blocks of snow and ice used to build an igloo.

So we are going to use this knife for cutting cheese and herbs. David was attracted to these everywhere we went he was staring at them thru the glass cases. He loves knifes of all kinds and once when I asked him if he really needed another knife he said, what a silly question, of course I do.

So he looked everywhere and finally decided to purchase this lovely Ulu.

David loves the pattern, which he told me is a damascus metal pattern.
We promise we will not wear this knife when exercising or swimming!

Also, when we use it at the next family party, we will post an updated picture!

Raptor Sanctuary – Ketchikan Alaska

We walked around the corner and – there was a bald eagle, sitting in the enclosure. We are from Michigan and have seen maybe two bald eagles in our life time (outside of a zoo). In Alaska, it is more like – there is an eagle, there is eagle, there is another. This location, took in injured birds and gave them a home if they could not be returned. I consider that one of the highest honorable things a person can do, care for those who cannot. (guess that is why I am in medicine). Check out these wonderful birds.

Another bird and the handler, explaining the incredible work they do at this facility with birds of prey.
This poor little guy was rehabilitated, but then could not make it on his own in the wild, so they brought him back, and he seems happy here.
One of the many, many Eagles saw in the wild.
A few totems at the site just outside the raptor sanctuary.

Alaska License Plate

This is my second post on License Plates, I have a few I have been collecting during my travels, but feel free to post your collection too, lets start a new trend!!!

This is a school bus in Skagway, Alaska. But it looked it was currently being used as a tour bus.

We Saw a Bear in Alaska!

After rounding the corner from the 1400year old tree right about 10 feet away from where we were just standing was a big old Black Bear! I was hoping to see a bear while we were there, and we did. We have heard, bears do not like surprises so make noises when walking in the wild and we were and he stayed away, in fact I doubt he even noticed us, he was busy eating the spawning salmon. He would take a bite of one, toss it away, take a bit of another, toss that away, and then just kind of walked around and then walked away. The guide on the tour said another one was close by as well, so we should move on.

Hello Bear on our tour, we were just a few feet away from you around the previous corner.

Alaska License plate

We are going to try and start something new – post license plates from places we have gone, so here is ALASKA! Who knows maybe we will start a trend! Like posting beautiful Doors photographed on Travels, we will post Travel License Plates!

I did check and see if this is allowed, and a lawyer commented this is because they are public and there is no malleus or personal information attached.

Glacier Bay – Alaska – Part 2

This location was so incredibly beautiful we had to make it into two posts. We heard Princess Cruise line is the only cruise line to float into the Bay and get a close up view of the Glaciers. Glacier Bay is a National Park with seven glaciers to view, we saw two and they were amazing!

Check out this link for more details on this incredible location:

https://www.nps.gov/glba/learn/nature/overview-of-selected-glaciers-in-glacier-bay.htm

We did not have a balcony, but if we did we would have had gotten a room on the port side – as the boat enters the bay, stays there for about 30minutes, then completely turns around 180degrees and takes off.

TIP: Get a balcony for this cruise to Glacier Bay on the Port side for the best views!

There are several glaciers on the way floating in, but our favorites and best to view are at the end of the bay, where there is an ice glacier to the left (Margerie Glacier) and a glacier in the front (the Grand Pacific, but it is covered in dirt). We were on the deck and it was almost silent, as people stood, stared, took pictures and admired the glaciers. It was brilliantly sunny, and crisp in temperature, the very perfect day to sip on hot chocolate with rum and lean into the deck overlooking what felt like a spiritual site. Every once in a while there was a crash of ice falling into the water and a loud thunder roar to follow. Birds and sea lions were in the bay, unaffected by our presence. It was Magic!

Boating toward the end of Glacier bay, the pinnacle of the views on the way!

“It’s an irritating reality that many places and events defy description. Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, for instance, seem to demand silence, like a love affair you can never talk about. For a while after, you fumble for words, trying vainly to assemble a private narrative, an explanation, a comfortable way to frame where you’ve been and what happened. In the end, you’re just happy you were there- with your eyes open- and lived to see it.”  – Anthony Bourdain.

This is the Margerie Glacier, it was our favorite.

This is Grand Pacific glacier above is covered in Dirt

Say goodbye to Glacier Bay!

Skagway, Alaska

Just a few pictures of the town of Skagway. After our Helicopter tour was cancelled, we walked to town and did some shopping while waiting to go on our Gold Panning Tour. We also thought about doing the railway Yukon route – but there was a landslide, and the railway was shut down for the day, and we learned some were stuck up on the mountain waiting for bus trips back down. So we learned this town has ~500residents during the winter, and ~1500 during the summer, the local campsite is booked two years out during the summer and empty in the winter. We really enjoyed just hanging out in town. These are some of the high lights.

Check out the Cruise ship at the end of the street! It looks like a building, but this is the view from the front.

Some signs in Skagway.

Back to the ship.
Skagway, Alaska Visit for a day
Skagway view from back at the Ruby Princess Cruise Ships.

Liarsville, Alaska

We could not go on our helicopter tour to a glacier (super sad face here), because the weather. So instead, we booked a tour to Gold Pan in Liarsville – just outside of Skagway, Alaska. We thought we were going Gold panning, we both pictured us our in the wild standing in a river panning for gold, and probably not finding anything. This was not what this tour was about. Liarsville, is a shanty town set up by reporters who were hated by the Skagway locals.

The journalist were run out of town during the Klondike Gold Rush because they had WAY over hyped the gold found in the area and cooked up all manner of tall tales to only sell more newspaper not inform the public. FAKE NEWS! Many flocked to Alaska for the Gold rush, only to freeze or starve to death, and the journalists were blamed.

The Liarsville tour, had a small town set up, a comedy show, history lesson, and then chance to find some gold—which, for the record, was just dirt in a pan, with some pre place gold flakes in the pan. Not the gold panning we imagined.

Gold Panning in Alaska

The gold we found

It has a 4/5 rating on TripAdvisor, so it has a lot to offer to some, but we were expecting something different, and were disappointed in this tour for that reason. We did hear their Salmon bake is amazing, but it was not part of tour, AND at the time the electricity was out so would not be an option even if we had booked it. The performers had A LOT of energy in their performance, but still not what we expected.

Welcome to Alaska Sign

Were at the edge of Alaska and Canada on a bus tour. We make a quick stop to take a picture of Welcome to Alaska, and Welcome to Canada!

Welcome to Canada on the other side of this roadside stop.
A few pictures of the view

A view from the bus up the hill.

Stop at the side of the road.

Glacier Gardens – Alaska and spoken native language Video

A series of unfortunate events = Glacier Gardens, Juneau Alaska. This is how they described it in our tour. An interesting place, so lets check it out.

We take a ride up the mountain to see the recovered garden from the landside (unfortunate event) and have a wonderful tour from our guide who wishes us the best in his native language which is not a written language. There are least 17 original major Tribes that are Native to Alaska and of course, over the centuries they branched apart into separate Tribes. Some of the predominant Tribes are the Inupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian and the Northern Athabaskan. Today, there are 227 Federally recognized Tribes in Alaska that live in separate Indians Villages as opposed to the Reservations in the lower 48 States.

Our Guide speaking the unwritten language of his clan.

Gardens at the base.

We were only here a short time

The owner – Steve – decided to take fallen trees and make them into sculptures of upside down gardens – the hanging flowers are on top of the root structure of a tree base. Unfortunate the tree has fallen, but beauty has taken over (we do not have any pictures that were post worthy, so this picture is a from Yelp review.
The resident Eagle at Glacier Gardens, there is even a video cam showing the nest and babies inside the greenhouse.

Salmon Hatchery – and Seal eating them all up – Alaska

Sharing a few pictures of our visit to a Salmon Hatchery, they hatch baby chum Salmon and then release them into the wild and after years of living out there, they return to the hatchery and mate and then die. The guide we had said their death is the beginning of new salmon and they fertilize the ground. Plus they are food for so many Alaskan wildlife, including this cute sea lion, eating his fill.

Sea Lion scouting salmon

These are the Salmon returning to spawn.

A million baby salmon in the hatchery – jumping out of the water.

Date night back on the Ruby Princess

David and I like to date, slip away from the kids and just go out to dinner, a movie, have a drink out, walk around just by ourselves. Even though we are on this cruise all by ourselves, we still had a date night. We upgraded on the dinner plan with Curtis Stones restaurant – Share. The upcharge is $29 extra dollars per person, BUT we had a buy one get one free coupon and a credit on the ship. So we ate like we were fancy royalty…. like a princess.

TIP: Wait until the second day for a Princess Cruise coupon book, get the specialty dinner buy-one-get-one-free coupon.

Website for the Curtis stone restaurant:

https://www.princess.com/ships-and-experience/food-and-dining/curtis-stone/

Its a six course meal, and we try and order different things, so we get to try more. I was going to list every meal, but you can check out the menu from our meal if you like – just trust me is was delicious.

I was so full from the previous courses and the bread I could barely eat this, so David finished up mine and I only had two bites of the dessert – felt so guilty.

Mendenhall Glacier & Nugget Falls, Juneau Alaska

A bus ride from the cruise dock to Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls was only a few minutes from our Port. We had three choices when we arrived at our destination, check out the small museum movie and gift shop – walk over to the river to watch the salmon spawning, or a hike over to the Mendenhall Glacier & Nugget Falls. We choose to hike over, just over 20mins one way. We were really glad we did.

I must admit, on the hike over, I kept thinking we could be eaten by a bear. We had a saying – Bears don’t like surprises, so we talked while walking, nice and loud.

Smells like Heaven

The plaque says – Romeo, the spirit of Juneau’s friendly black wolf lives on in this wild place.