2018 – Celebrating Family

As we get older, we realize just how precious life is, and how short it can be. Sometimes we get so busy with our own lives that we don’t take the time to let our family know how much we love them.

When my Mom and her sister married, they moved to different areas within the United States for various reasons; however, every year they met at the same time at their parents home during the summer in Mobile, AL. This not only gave everyone an opportunity to meet other family members, but also spend time with my first cousins. Over the years, we felt like we were raised together even though it was for a short time during the summer months. As we got older, the summer rendezvous stopped, and we grew apart with the exception of attending family reunions every two years. The reunions stopped, and our lives convened only during funerals. Then everything stopped when our ancestors were no more.

As the first cousins’ children got married, we started to come together again. Before we knew it, my Mom was 80 years old, and her sister was 83 years old! Time waits for no one!

So, here we are this year, celebrating 60th birthdays and 55th birthdays! Not all of us that grew up together made it this far. We lost a few in our generation along the way, but this month we celebrate.

We celebrate God and how far He has brought us.

We celebrate family and how just getting together takes us back to where we left off during our childhood with so many amazing memories!

 

Between The Dashes

Alaskan Cruise – Inner Passage – Princess Cruises, May 2017

Source:  Princess Cruises

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I need to share my Alaskan Cruise with you!  In May 2017, the Family and I went on a 7 Day Alaskan Cruise, Inner Passage. We decided on Princess Cruises because this cruise line has been the # 1 cruise line for Alaskan cruises over the past 10 years by Travel Weekly!

Alaskan cruises are generally May thru September, with May being the cheapest.  Our schedule allowed us to cruise in May, so we decided on the 13-20 May 2017 cruise out of Seattle, Washington (https://www.princess.com/learn/cruise-destinations/alaska-cruises/roundtrip/seattle/index.jsp). Based on our past cruise experience, we book our flights to arrive a day prior to the cruise to avoid any mishaps that flight delays or cancellations may cause.  Unfortunately, our flight departure times were changed, and we had only two options, depart extremely early or evening.  We decided to go with the evening flights which did not allow much time for sightseeing.  Following was our cruise itinerary:

Day 1 – Depart Seattle, WA

Day 2 – At Sea

Day 3 – Juneau, Alaska

Day 4 – Skagway, Alaska

Day 5 – Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Day 6 – Ketchikan, Alaska

Day 7 – Victoria, British Columbia

Day 8 – Arrive Seattle, WA

We cruised the Inner Passage on the Ruby Princess which has a guest capacity of 3080 persons (or 1542 guest cabins), a crew size of 1200, a total of 19 decks and was recently refurbished in December 2015.  The cabins were 220 sq. ft. as compared to Carnival (230 sq. ft.) and Royal Caribbean (164 sq. ft.).  The service was awesome, the food phenomenal, and the ship very relaxing. I think the cruise prices were comparable to other cruise lines, but Princess is a leader in this location!

Source:  Princess Cruises – Ruby Princess

In addition, Princess had enrichment programs on board to add to the overall Alaskan experience such as visits/presentations by:

  • The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champion Libby Riddles
  • A Lumberjack
  • Sled Dogs/Puppies
  • Gold Rush Klondike Festival
  • Fresh Alaska seafood throughout the cruise as well as cooking your own catch
  • National Park Rangers and naturalists
  • Alaska storytellers and authors

When we arrived in Junea, we did a dog sled excursion.  It was one of our most memorable experiences!

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Empty Sled and Dogs

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Sled Dogs Aligned and Ready To Go!

Before coming on the Alaskan cruise, I did a lot of research to determine what to pack.  Everything I read talked about dressing in layers.  We decided to leave our winter coats home, but bring sweaters, jackets, heavy socks, winter gloves & hats, and rain attire.  Overall, the weather was mild and varied between the 50-60°F.  There were many comments about the lack of rain during our visit because there is generally lots of rain in May.  What I was not prepared for was the Glacier Bay National Park!  I was raised in Chicago, so I was familiar with cold weather.  However, it was literally freezing in Glacier Bay!  The Ruby Princess ships’ log says the temp was 46.4°F, but it felt much colder than that!  The layers, gloves, hats, etc. did not allow me to get warm!  I could feel the cold to my bones!  I have never felt a cold like I did when viewing the glaciers!  Following are a some facts and a couple of pics:

  • In 1750, Glacier Bay was a massive single glacier but due to higher average temperatures and lower average snowfall amounts over the last several centuries it has been transformed into what is now a 65 miles (105 km) fjord with many smaller glaciers.¹² (see notes below)
  • There are 1045 glaciers identified in Glacier Bay National Park.
  • There are more than 50 named glaciers in the park including Grand Pacific (2 miles wide by 35 miles long), Johns Hopkins (1 mile wide by 12.5 miles long), Margerie (1 mile wide by 21 miles long), and Lamplugh (.75 miles wide by 16 miles long).
  • 7 of the glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park are tidewater glaciers.

Glacier Bay National Park – Margerie Glacier (1 mile wide, 21 miles long, and 350 ft high of which 100 ft is under water) – View From Our Balcony!

Zoomed picture of Margerie Glacier.   The ship is not allowed to get too close to the glacier just in case some of the glacier falls away and creates high waves!

Lessons Learned:

1. Choosing a cruise line – Most cruise lines do Alaskan Cruises so do your homework and decide on your priorities.  If excursions are your priority, then the cruise price can be cheaper leaving you more money for off ship activities. If the cruise ship is your destination, then make sure you pick a cruise line that offers on board activities that you enjoy!

2. Type of cruise and locations – There are a variety of Alaskan cruises.  Options include cruise only, land and sea cruise, Glaciers cruise, Tracy Arm Fjord cruise, etc. Departure locations vary as well to include Seattle (WA), Vancouver (British Columbia), and Alaska.

2. Transport between pier and airport – Most cruise lines provide transportation for a fee.   We used the cruise line bus transportation and there were some draw backs.  The “Greyhound” type bus waited until it reached capacity which took an unusually long period of time.  Also, the airport drop off location was an extremely long way from the airport check in.  The only thing that saved us was my Mom needed a wheel chair, and we accidentally stated our flight departure was soon.

3. Pre-cruise activities – Before purchasing your flight, consider doing some pre-cruise excursions or venture out on your own.  If the cruise departure location is a place you’ve never been, this is an opportunity to do some sightseeing!

4. Post – cruise activities – This is another opportunity for sightseeing or visiting family.

Between The Dashes

Notes:

  1. “Climate Change”. National Park Service. 2016-01-15. Archived from the original on 2015-11-19. Retrieved 2016-01-15.“History and Culture”. National Park Service. 2016-01-15. Archived from the original on 2015-12-19. Retrieved 2016-01-15.

July 2017 – Western Caribbean Cruise On Carnival Cruiseline

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In July 2017, we decided to go on a cruise with our daughter who lives in Chicago. When other family members heard about it, the number of attendees grew.  As the cruise drew near, some dropped out, but in the end, there were a total of 8 of us across 4 cabins.

We picked a 4 day Western Caribbean cruise going to Key West and Cozumel, roundtrip from Miami, FL on the Carnival Victory.  The cruise was amazing! The ship was renovated in 2015, and the ship and cabins were roomy and well decorated. Continue reading

9 Oct 2016 – Answers to Interview Questions 21-25 (Mother)

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Alice’s 80th Birthday (front row, center) – Tampa, FL in August 2015

 

It’s been a long time since I published Mom’s interview questions so you can find the prior ones at the end of this post.  I learn so much about my family history by doing the interviews.  For now, lets focus on the last five questions.  Enjoy!

  • Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
    • Not really other than when I got married, divorced and purchased a home. LoL
    • I was not mentioned, but my boyfriend, and ultimately, father of my children, was in the Mobile Register all the time while playing football.
  • Who were your friends when you were growing up?
    • Sugar (real name was Hermine) and her sister, Punch – These friends lived across the street from my Grandma Laura’s house.  Sugar and Punch had tuberculosis, which was highly contagious at the time, so I was told not to go over to their house.  In spite of her illness, I continued to visit until Sugar called me and told me not to come over.  Tuberculosis almost wiped out their immediate family.
    • Alice (friend in college).  When Alice came to our home during a college break, I was 16 years old at the time and in my first year of college.  All my friends, even Yanetta who was younger, went to the Elk’s Club.  However, I could not attend.  My mother was very strict, and she told me if I went to the Elk’s Club, I would not be able to be a Debutante.  I told her I did not want to be a Debutante, but it didn’t matter.  I could not go.  I thought my mom was the meanest person alive!
    • Yanetta (pictured above, front row, right) – We went everywhere together.  The movies, parties, and fights…yes I said fights!  Check out this story 10 Aug 2015 – The Ditch for details on how we became fighting buddies.
    • Francis – He was a friend and a relative.  See my post on Francis at 23 Nov 2015 – Cousin Francis 
  • What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
    • Brookley Air Force base would periodically have air drills.  This was in preparation for an attack on the United States.  During the drills, all the lights, both inside and outside the home, were required to be turned out.  The siren generally started about 11 pm.  The thought process was that the enemy could not see it’s target in the dark.
    • My mother worked at Brookley; however, she lost her job because someone went to the foreman and told him that she did not need a job because her husband worked.  Mom was fired shortly after that incident.

Continue reading