Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Great Alaska Adventure: Day 2 (Part One)

June 11, 2014
We started out our day with breakfast at a cute little place on Vashon Island called The Hardware Store. It actually used to be a hardware store but now it's a restaurant. We had a yummy breakfast complete with a yummy drink!
Then to the "famous" bicycle in a tree, followed by Quartermaster Harbor and we had to see the exercise bikes on the beach.
There's quite a story floating around the internet about the bike being left there by a soldier that went to war. Alas, in reality a little boy left it there because he didn't like it and told his mother it was stolen. Over the years the tree grew around it and the rest is, as they say, history!  It was so weird to see this as I had read about it on Facebook a couple months ago.
Awesome Cresia!  By the time the trip ended she was quite the pro.
Evidently people like to get rid of them and set them facing the water. We didn't see anyone actually riding them. Perhaps we should have stopped and done so!
We had a busy day planned so we headed for the ferry. Once in Seattle we headed to the Pike Place Market, home of the famous fish stand, the best chocolate covered cherries anywhere, and the original Starbucks!
Then there's Pike Place ....pig......
We bought some yummy Chukar Cherries. First we sampled several kinds (of course) My favorites were the ones coated in dark chocolate but Dale liked the milk chocolate ones. We bought two bags but hmmmm...neither one made it home from the trip.
There were also the most beautiful flowers at cheap, cheap prices! So pretty!
Then to "show" our girls how "hip and today" we are, we headed to the original Starbucks. We did have to stand in line for a bit but nothing like what I thought we might have to. :)
And we came out with two yummy drinks (and a couple gifts!) One of the things they sell in the store are glasses, mugs, and travel cups with the original logo on them. They are not available in any other Starbucks.
We hopped on the monorail to head over to the Spaceneedle....but that's a post for another day. Can you believe that this blog just represents the first half of our day in Seattle. WOW. What tourists we are and we managed to jam so much into one day that I will have to continue Day 2 in another blog post!
Ending with a final piece of advice from Vashon Island....

Friday, June 27, 2014

Day One: The Great Alaska Adventure

June 10th 2014

It seems odd to start the Great Alaska Adventure off with pictures from Seattle, doesn't it? Well Cresia's friend, Joe lives on Vashon Island and so we started our adventure a little early via Seattle.

We started out at Lambert. The flight was delayed a little so we decided a photo op with Flat Freddie was called for, Notice we started out with two....but only one returned....more about that later.
Finally we are on the plane when we are told we need to wait a few minutes due to lightening in the area, not the most confidence inspiring moments! Even after waiting we ran into a storm and some turbulence.
Thankfully Joe remember to meet us at the airport and then we were on our way to his home on Vashon Island via the ferry. My grandson Evan, is amazed that we used so many modes of transportation on this trip!
The next picture is one of our now "famous" selfies. We took quite a few on the trip and people kept asking us if we wanted them to take a picture of all of us. To be polite we "let" them but we had lots more laughs trying to get a good selfie!  Cresia developed a talent or it by the end of the trip. However Joe took this one on the ferry.
Seattle looking pretty. The view of Seattle from the ferry was just the start of some awe inspiring sights that we encountered on the Great Alaska Adventure but the houses nestled on the coast of the city are so unique and pretty.
We decided the sunset was so pretty that we needed to pose for another picture.
Isn't this just beautiful? Sunset over the water always is!
We relaxed a bit while Cresia and Joe caught up on all the Kennett news then off to bed!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Home from the Great Alaska Adventure

I am home!  It's bittersweet!  We had an amazing trip but home is always sweet! This is a picture of us on the train from Denali to Fairbanks. What an awesome ride. This is in the dinner car where Dale, Barb, and I had prime rib and Cresia had chicken,. We ended the meal with an awesome warm brownie with ice cream and chocolate syrup. But I'm getting ahead of myself...there were plenty of full exciting days prior to the train ride. I am going to attempt to blog them. I'll gather my notes, Cresia's notes and all our combined memories to try and give you a glimpse into the trip of a lifetime!

I've had a two hour nap (that flight from Fairbanks to Chicago was a killer) but I'm just not up to starting this blog see you soon with Day One of The Great Alaska Adventure!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Great Alaska Adventure

I'm ready right now to head out on the Great Alaska Adventure. I'm so used to having early morning flights that the day seems to stretch ahead of me as I patiently (ok, not so patiently) wait for the time to depart for the airport. Usually I am running around last minute throwing things into my bags and taking care of last minute details.
Here's a brief outline of the trip. I hope to blog each of our days when I return. I'm taking along a journal because I know I will never be able to remember details.
June 10, 2014 Day One: We leave St Louis at 4:35 (St. Louis time) and arrive in Seattle at 6:50 (Seattle time). Cresia's friend, Joe is picking us up at the airport and then we will travel by ferry to Vashon Island, where he lives. Hoping for a relaxing evening while Cresia "catches up" with her friend.
June 11, 2014 Day Two: We will see the island and the bicycle in the tree and then head into Seattle for a day full of adventure.
June 12, 2014 Day Three: We will get on Amtrak (at 10:45 a.m.)  to travel to Vancouver, British Columbia. We will be looking around and dining out with some more of Cresia's friends, Mark and Renee. We will be spending the night at the Ramada Vancouver Downtown.
June 13, 2014 Day Four: We will have a nice relaxing breakfast and late morning we will head to the ship! Yes can you believe it! Our cruise is leaving on a Friday the 13th and it's a full moon too! Hope no werewolves are onboard!
Our cruise is with Royal Caribbean and we are on 7n Northbound Alaska and Hubbard Glacier cruise. Our ships name is Radiance of the Sea.
June 14, 2014 Day Five: This is inside passage part of the cruise so we will spend the day sailing.
June 15th Day Six: We will dock in Ketchikan, Alaska . This is where we will take a Lighthouse, Totems and Eagles excursion. It lasts about 3 hours. It will include a drive plus boat ride to get to our location.  Snacks and drinks are provided!
June 16, 2014 Day Seven: Icy Strait Alaska (not sure what all we will see here)
June 17, 2014 Day Eight: We dock in Juneau, Alaska for a fun filled day. We will be doing a whale watching excursion plus taking in Mendenhall Glacier. This excursion includes an Alaskan snack of smoked salmon, crackers, soda, coffee and water. We might meet up with one of mine and Barb's "old" students who lives there now, if time allows.
June 18, 2014 Day Nine: Skagway, Alaska  Here we will do the White Pass Summit Tour which is supposed to be beautiful. We will travel by motor coach through Skagway and up to the summit.
June 19, 2014 Day Ten:  Hubbard Glacier (cruising along and looking at the beauty of nature)
June 20, 2014 Day Eleven Seward Alaska (we will depart the ship but continue our journey.) We will travel by motor coach to Anchorage, Alaska and from there to Denali national park. We will spend the night at McKinley Village Lodge
June 21, 2014 Day Twelve: We will do the Tundra Wilderness Tour and again spend the night at McKinley Village Lodge
June 22, 2014 Day Thirteen: We will travel through Denali via train and see some beautiful scenery on our way to Fairbanks, Alaska. We will be staying at Pike Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks.
June 23, 2014 Day Fourteen: We will be doing a Gold Dredge and Riverboat Discovery Tour. We will again spend the night at Pikes Waterfront Lodge.
June 24, 2014 Day Fifteen: Our final day in Fairbanks then we will be heading to Fairbanks Airport for the return home leg of our journey. Our flight will leave at 8:18 p.m.(Alaska time)
June 25, 2014 Day Sixteen: We land in Chicago at about 5:20 a.m. then catch a flight to St Louis at 6:45 a.m. Arrival in St Louis at 7:55 a.m. (St Louis time).
I'm sure I'll have some awesome pictures and stories to tell. I won't have phone or internet service for a lot of the trip but that's actually a good thing as it will help us relax and enjoy the beauty around us!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Retirement Party: A Retirement Fiesta

My "final" retirement party was June 7th and hosted by my family!  It was a ton of fun. We had Mexican food, drinks of all kinds and a photo booth. Needless to say we laughed and laughed!
These adorable creations were on the gift and cake table. So cute that I saved them all, as I want to redo my office and think they will work great in it!

The cuteness goes on and on! Love the sayings and the colors and the pint size of all of these. Katie also made me a book to put my messages from the attendees in.

Fun with my hubby and "old" friend, Cresia.
More fun with friends......
Family Craziness
My best years were the years teaching kindergarten with this lady!!
Mrs. Avis, our middle school nurse.
Christy Mouse and the Ginger Fairy
More "old" friends.
Tom, my old principal and his wife Angie, elementary guidance counselor.
Audrey, Matt, and Evan
More friendship fun. I am so blessed to have such crazy family and friends who will jump in and join in the fun!!

George and Darlene.
Hmmmm.....I can't find a picture of my "old" principal Alan Dreyer, .....he owes me one....but I could have sworn I took at least one!!  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Searching for Self

I once wrote a short story that started out something like this.
"Have you ever found yourself staring into the eyes of a stranger only to realize that stranger is you."
In this day of social media, with constant "connections" to others through snapchat, texting and messaging we seldom have time to ponder "self". Yeah, yeah, I are going to insist that you know exactly who you are and what you want from life. Maybe you do...but most people have a hard time just putting their dreams into words. They can't tell you what they "like to do" let alone the kind of people they want to surround themselves with.
I've spent a lot of time of late, soul searching, trying to envision who I am and what I "believe" in. What do I stand for? How do I live a life of purpose without some answers to some very real questions? I'm the type of person that is always seeking to understand. Every answer I find typically unveils more questions.
The truth is "knowing yourself" is a constant process. The me I knew at 25 is not the me of now. Sure, some core aspects of self stay the same but our views, our focus, our "questions" change. Life is constant change and finding and celebrating your authentic self is no different.
My first question would be is soul and the authentic self the same thing?  My first response would be that they are. Yet that doesn't resonant with me either. It's complicated, isn't it.
Some people believe that the authentic self is your soul being made visible. The "real" you shining through so to speak. To me, however, self is a more human aspect of your being whereas, the soul is more spiritual. I think they are two sides, perhaps of the same coin. Perhaps the more in tune the two sides are the higher the value of the coin!
Why you might ask, am I pondering this? Quite honestly I haven't a clue. Before getting all "caught up" in blogging the "last year" and retirement, I always wrote random thoughts here at Ginger's Journey. Whatever came to mind made its way into my posts. I suspect the year ahead will be no different. Jumping from one thought, one musing, one topic or another I'll discover new answers, raise more questions, and just travel the paths in my heart and mind.

40 Days 40 Words: Steps

Steps, this blog post isn't about the ending but rather the beginning. Every great journey starts with a single step.

This journey is no exception,....let it begin!  Saturday June 7th will be my last big retirement celebration hosted by my daughter, Katie.  I'll enjoy laughing and talking surrounded by an amazing group of people. Then the "door" will be closed on my retirement and I will write the next chapter of my life.

Every summer has a story. So many people are envious of those in education that have summers off but the truth is there is a "down" side to it too. You start to feel like you live your lives in those months, cramming in as much as possible. While the start of summer brings great joy the end of summer brings a whole mix of emotions: anxiety, anticipation, worry, and excitement. The truth is, for those with the intense job of working with students the other 9 months of the year take so much energy, hours, and sometimes heartache that the summer really doesn't make up for it. In recent years the "summer" has gotten shorter and shorter. I'm going to SEE how this summer feels. This summer will have a story too....just like all the will it be different? What will the autumn story feel like? 

After that last fun filled retirement party, we head off on our MAJOR summer adventure....the Alaska cruise!  What a wonderful way to start my retirement adventures. I'm sure I'll be blogging about it so you will get to "live" the adventure with me.

I'm also looking forward to some other adventures this summer: more time with Evan and friends at our place in Bennett Springs, a 50th birthday adventure day with my friend Cresia, and later a trip to Chicago with friends. 

Thank you to all who shared in my last year by reading here at Ginger's Journey!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

40 Days 40 Words: Bittersweet

What an absolutely wonderful journey this last year has been. Days went by where I didn't even think about it being the LAST YEAR...and then as the end grew nearer, I found myself smiling a lot, sometimes just to myself. Things that normally would annoy me, simply drifted past me without a care. I found that people who, quite frankly, I didn't care for faded into the background and I found myself surrounded by an amazing group of people, (coworkers, family, friends) My heart filled with joy at how much I am blessed with great people to share this journey with!
Still. all in all, it is a bittersweet time. The door above is my office door. I've walked though many doors in 30 years in education, Each door taught me something about myself and about my life. Some doors are closed forever but others are still there, lingering, waiting for another person to turn the knob.
This is the door I entered through for the last several years. My office is around the corner and to the right once you enter the middle school. "Little red" the car I inherited from my daughter, Kelsey, is reflected there in the door, waiting to carry me forward into my next great adventure!  Bittersweet.

Featured Post

Thursday March 12th was our first full day in Shanghai and it was a whirlwind of activity. We headed to Starbucks first for a taste of home ...