Sunday, August 21, 2016

Once in a Lifetime

Mendenhall Glacier-Juneau, Alaska

I think I know where and why the phrase "once in a lifetime" came about, particularly when used as an adjective to a family vacation. It means, should only be done once in a lifetime. Let's see-broken wine bottle in a suit case, misunderstanding of what travel agent said was and was not prepaid adding hundreds per family of unplanned cost (but was clearly in the printed material and we had accounted for it in our budget), teenager thinking mini bar was included, packed shoes in luggage taken off ship leaving one member without any footwear on departure day, and a left suitcase in the disembarkation center, with a $43 cab fare to get it to the airport all were part of the fun of unnecessary stress. Ironically, none of theses issues were with my family. We are home and relatively unscathed from eight days of togetherness as as part of an extended family. Heavily aided by a few cocktails along the way, I managed to get some good time with my immediate family, and keep my mind gripped during the full on group of 17. To be honest, I think the others felt the same way-we aren't exactly total peaches to spend a week with either. 

This was for my mother in law, and important to her. We had a lovely birthday celebration  for her on her birthday itself.  That night she sat with all her kids and in laws, plus two oldest grand daughters due to table arrangement.  The next night she sat with just the grand kids. One of the little guys, who hasn't really spent much time with DS in his short 5 years, found a new best friend. Yesterday at the airport in Seattle, he sat on DS's lap until it was time for us to board. DS was on a different flight of course heading back to LA, and had to take a shuttle train to another terminal before catching his later flight. 

One of my favorite animals, these sea lions were catching
some rest and giving me a good photo op.
The sites were gorgeous-beautiful mountains, glaciers, wildlife,and blue waters to appreciate the magnificence of the world. DS captured some good footage for his film real. I have mediocre at best pictures, but turned my camera over to DD2 for most of the trip.Highlights of course were having all three of my kids together. Trip specifc favorites was seeing the Mendenhall Glacier, Ketchikan, and the humpback whales. We originally were scheduled for a zodiac boat ride and guided forest hike on Monday, bu it got cancelled due to mechanical difficulties with the boat. We chose to get a refund rather than the alternative canoe trip they offered. Back on ships, we booked the glacier and whale watching in place. This was fortunate, even though it cost us another $235, becasue the whales did not disappoint.  We found a pod of 12, and one guy even jumped out twice for us.  I captured on video, so will try and upload and post a link. 

I don't know if I'll get back to Alaska in my lifetime. There are so many other places and wonders I want to see. Even though we were planning on this trip anyway, it made my MIL happy to be able to gift the bulk of the trip to her family, and have everyone come along. Back at the airport, she allowed herself to use the wheelchair service. While she departed the ship at each port, she avoided stairs on board, and it was clear the physical strain had taken its toll. Seeing her in the wheel chair was the first glimpse of recognition that she is slowing down with age. However, slowing down but not quite done with her own adventures. She has a trip planned with the town senior center for Nova Scotia next month already.

Falls from the mountais were all along the scenic coast
and interiors of Alaska. 

Not the best picture, but saw the tops of a family of humpbacks. 


  1. Glad you and your family came back mostly unscathed. Funny how cocktails do make the world better sometimes lol. You made your Mother-in-law happy and that is what mattered. I have been on one Alaska cruise (back when I was a travel agent) and loved it but agree, there are so many places to go in the world will likely not be back unless hubby really wants to go as I went before I knew him. Welcome home!

    1. Perhaps a different type of trip but not a cruise again. Next vacation we will plan ourselves.

  2. Replies
    1. The views can't be matched though we're hoping Yellowstone is in our near future.

  3. As Erma Bombeck said "Families, the ties that bind and gag" Glad it was a successful trip!

  4. Fantastic photos! I'm glad you had this wonderful opportunity of both traveling to one of the most amazing places on earth, and spending time with the family!


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