Monday, October 27, 2014

Retreat at Shrine of St. Therese

Our new ward's Relief Society has a tradition of going to the Shrine of St. Therese each fall. I went out after work for dinner, games and a devotional. The theme was PJs party. Prayer, Journals, Scriptures and we had a good discussion of how we fit each into our days.

It was a partly clear evening so I enjoyed looking up at the stars...but cold enough I didn't stay outside for long. 

Late in the evening, the Relief Society President went next door to "the early to bed" AKA post office cabin and, scratching at the window, totally terrified the women. One particularly funny woman came back to the lodge to say that she was so scared she had to change her under pants! 

About 2 am, after two hours trying to sleep and the party still rocking, I packed up and went home. I needed sleep or I was going to be sick.

I was so glad I was able to go back early the next morning for breakfast and exploring of the shrine. I walked out the causeway to the chapel with a couple friends and we watch sea lions swim by.

After breakfast I wandered over to the gap which is a cabin you can use to get out of the weather as you look over the columbarium.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dog-sitting and Alaska Day

We had ten days walking and hiking with a 15-year old gordon setter named Zoe who lives in downtown Juneau. We had our share of homegrown carrots, lunchtime walks, Taku winds, smoked salmon, and urban bears.

The bear made its appearance on the first night. We were heading the same direction and I wasn't too keen on following him while holding the leash on a dog that could pass for a shaggy bear cub. We tried to go walking in daylight after being stuck waiting for the bruin to head off into someone's yard.

We took Zoe on a 5 mile, 1800' hike to the tram on Mt. Roberts to celebrate Alaska day (we also walked her part-way up the lower Dan Moller trail, but there was frost and ice so none of us really enjoyed that one).

All along the way, we were greeted by others who were amazed by her stamina. "Yes, us too. No, we can't take credit for her health, we're just the sitters."

I was pretty nervous - as in I just can't watch that - when she'd venture too close to the cliff edge...she's deaf and getting cataracts... But she really enjoyed being off leash for a few miles.

At the top the wind had picked up and so we cancelled our goals to hike farther up the mountain.

The last quarter mile of the hike I was calling and clapping and offering treats, just hoping Zoe would return to me to get her leash back on. We waited for her to turn back but she just continued down the trail toward the parking lot. Did I mention that she's a bird dog that never figured out cars? At the road she made a bee-line to greet a stranger. Fortunately she timed it just right to avoid any traffic and finally saw me racing toward her, treat bag in hand.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ice breaker Healy

When one of the Coast Guard's two ice breakers, the Healy, stopped in town we took the afternoon off work to tour the boat. This 420 foot boat does scientific studies in the Arctic as well as provides support to any distressed mariners up north.

Back in 2012, the Healy lead the Russian tanker Renda through the ice offshore Nome to ensure that the town got their winter fuel. An early storm had prevented them from getting their final shipment. The crew of the Healy gave up their Christmas holiday when they heard that Renda was willing to help and the turned around and headed back north.

It was fun to see the breaker's bridge and skiffs as well as their heliport. We were most surprised by the whole rack of bikes, I assume they use for shore excursions. On the bridge we were impressed by all the handles, floor surfaces, etc. to help them stay on their feet in rough water. I felt bad for the crew, having to constantly tell people not to climb on or swing from various equipment. One crew member  had lost her voice from talking all day, but she was still there answering questions.

After our tour we headed to Sandy beach to attend our neighbor's wedding and reception.

Friday, October 10, 2014

San Francisco

Mr. X had an assignment to attend a conference a.k.a geek camp in San Francisco and asked me to go with him this time around. Little did I know that when I bought my plane ticket, he would need me to be his sherpa...his back was still sore from his good deed a few weeks before. Yes, that was me with the backpacker pack and roller bag hiking the hill.

We arrived Saturday evening and after getting settled in the hotel went out to dinner at an Indian restaurant. Most reviews were favorable, but one had it totally wrong saying that it was inauthentic and that Indians wouldn't eat there. Liar!...all the servers appeared to be Indian, 85% of the patrons appeared to be Indian, and the Indian at the table next to us ordered his favorite home style dish -- which was not on the menu. We felt like we were being lavish, ordering multiple dishes and sides and were prepared for a big bill. It came out to less than $30.

Sunday morning we got ready for breakfast only to learn that there was a dress code -- I had to wear my church clothes to breakfast all week and Mr. X was chagrined he only had one collared shirt.

Sunday and Monday I visited my sister and her family. They showed off their fruit trees and made a batch of homemade lemonade from their lemons. Monday, there somehow ended up being three people in my bed. A couple kiddos were happy I had come to visit. : ) We visited the Winchester mansion and then had a picnic lunch at a park. I went back to San Francisco and planned a day riding the cable cars, visiting the cable car museum, beach, the crookedest street and maritime museum on the waterfront.

Wednesday, I walked from the hotel, across the Golden Gate Bridge. At a park on the other side a custodian told me that it was shorter to walk to Sausalito and then take the ferry back to San Francisco. Honestly, I think it was about the same distance, but it was a fun outing. I loved seeing all the birds at Golden Gate park - especially the pelicans. Before heading back to the hotel I went to Ghirardelli Square to buy a few pieces of chocolate.

Thursday I walked through China town to telegraph hill. It was fun to see all the sidewalk produce sellers and I was tempted by all the fresh ginger for sale. At one park there were masses of people doing tai chi, and I wished Mr. X could have seen it...he needs to try it with a group, if you ask me. I  was hoping to see the parrots of telegraph hill but didn't find them. After all the walking (and sunshine!) I was ready to get back to the hotel to do laundry, pack and finish my homework assignment for the week.