Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sailing the Seas to Alaska

Several months ago, my Angel Father Number One(as he now insists on being referred to), turned the corner to being seventy years old. It has been decades and decades since we went on a "family" vacation.(I was about thirteen years old and my was brother nine, at the time. My mother insisted on spending the afternoon in the tiny bathroom on The Maid of the Midst, instead of experiencing Niagra Falls, as to prevent her hair from getting wet. Oh, the horror.) So, when my step-mom brought up the idea of taking a family vacation, the idea sounded quite intriguing. Mark and I like to take the girls on vacation when we can. We know that it is only a very short jaunt to the time when each one of them will have lives of their own, and arranging a time when we will all be available at the same time will be increasingly more difficult. We have always prided ourselves on the idea of raising our daughters with value and respect for our family as a unit. For these reasons, and many others, we decided that a cruise to Alaska would be a nice way to create some new family memories with my dad(Excuse me, AF1) and my step-mom, Rita.

We decided on a cruise because it is a fairly easy way to travel to several different points without having to pack and then unpack, over and over again. We decided on Alaska, mostly for convenience. Mark and I had taken our Angel daughters to Anchorage, several years ago and we really enjoyed being able to experience the glaciers on land. The wildlife there was absolutely breathtaking. While taking a hike through the Anchorage wilderness, we were forced to wait and be still for over twenty minutes while a gigantic Moose grazed and grunted lazily on the footpath. There is nothing like having to remain still while allowing the rhythm of nature to take its course. It certainly puts life into a different perspective. Viewing Alaska from a cruise ship is a very incongruent and limited way to experience such a vast land of beauty. We did get off of the ship in different ports, but were only able to see what the cruise lines wanted us to see in the constrained periods of time which we were allowed. That being said, we had a very nice time spending some time together as a family.
The beginning of our trip started with a plane flight up to the dynamic city of Seattle. We were all filled with happy expectance, as we boarded the airplane for the two and a half hour flight.
Angel Daughter Number One and Angel Daughter Number Three settled into the seats across from Mark's and mine.
After about an hour, Angel Daughter Number Two and Angel Daughter Number Four fell asleep behind us. I just love the way that my children look when they are sleeping. So...Well, so angelic ;).
Once again, I took in the distinct context of observing the earth from the air. Here is one of the several volcanos which reached up beyond the vistas to greet us. Fascinating.
Descending into Seattle from the sky.
Once we arrived in Seattle and settled into the hotel for the night, AD1 was able to catch up with her beloved roommate from college. Theresa is like another Angel daughter to us. She drove four hours from Portland to see us. I am so glad that the girls got to spend some time together and that I was able to give Theresa a big hug.(She is a wonderful hugger!)
Seattle is such a diverse city. You can see the Space Needle off in the distance. If you can catch the city on a clear and sunny day, the mood of the city boarders on giggly. People there are so energized by the sun. Seattle is a wonderful place with a fabulous farmer's market. We had an extra day on the tail-end of our trip, so I was able to spend an afternoon enjoying all of the local splendor. I will share some photos of the farmer's market in another post.
Angel Daughters three, four and two(from left to right) arriving at the port in Seattle. It was our first journey on a such huge ship, so the girls were quite excited. Angel Daughter Number Three does not really like having her picture taken. I am not sure why, as she is such a beautiful girl, both inside and out. Hence the sourpuss...
After embarking onto the ship, we met up with Angel Father Number One and Angel Rita. We then went up to the very top floor of the boat to watch as we shipped-off to sea! We seemed to be on the side of the ship that was windward, so it took a lot of begging to get a photo of the girls as we sailed out of port. Angel Daughter Number Three had to use one hand to hold down her skirt(No Marilyn Monroe shots here), and the other to hold her sweater closed.(She gets cold!) I guess that left no hands to brush the hair from blowing into her eyes.
From the bow of the ship, I watched as we made our way out into the open ocean. The sky and sea seemed to share the same cerulean color as we embarked upon our journey. It's interesting how each day offers us the same opportunities to start out with that wonderful feeling of unbridled optimism and yet, we do not often take advantage of the tangibility that we are offered. I have to say that going on a trip, whether it be long or short, gives us the fortuity to look forward to the unexpected in a very good way. What if we took a little bit of that into each day along with us? Even the seemingly ordinary ones.

I will definitely condense certain days of our trip into shorter snippets. We spent at least a few days at sea without a lot of activity. I would say that all in all, our trip was filled with mostly good stuff(ex-boyfriend drama followed us from land that never should have) and that Angel Father Number One learned a whole lot more about his granddaughters than he thought he knew, but really did not. I suppose that is why spending time together as a family or with the closest of our friends(the ones who are like family), is such an important thing. Shouldn't we all know more about the people we love the most?

I am so glad to be back at home. And thank you for the lovely comments that you left for me in my absence. Your kind words mean so. I have missed catching up with everyone. I promise to stop by to say hello in the next few days.


Blue said...

i recently had my first layover ever in SEA and a friend picked me up and took me down to the market. i was dying that i still had 3 days of flying ahead of me because i SO BADLY wanted to buy some of those amazing flowers! i loved the variety of wares and sampling all the yummies.

i've actually never been on a cruise, which is something on my bucket list. one of these days when doc's got a job and we have a little more opportunity we'll do it. i'm glad you had some QT with your AF#1! (quality time/angel family #1) ♥

Art by Julie H. said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip, family time is always important and your girls will always remember spending that time together.
Cheers to good memories!

Chawwles said...

AF1 is 70? I just can't believe that! I guess the absolute beauty of the entire set of women in the family started with some good hardy genes from your dad! I can't wait to hear about your guys' dinners, excursions, and 50% off season ending JEWELLERY shopping adventures :)

Peggy Payne said...

I want to see a picture of the intriguing AF1. Or was there one earlier and I missed him?

Irene Latham said...

A cruise to Alaska is SO on my list of places to go... I think i suggest every year that instead of presents for Christmas, we should just all (the whole extended family) take a cruise together. So happy you got to have that experience! Thanks for allowing us to enjoy it vicariously. xxoo

Ness said...

So happy that you all got to make that cruise. I'm sure your brother was with you every moment. The Angel Daughters 1-4 are precious looking as always. You take the best pictures. Know that my seaglass travels every where I go and this weekend we're going to Sikeston, MO with Kathy and her husband to keep Kathy busy since the boys were taken from her and hitting up a flea market or two. Still more determined than ever to make it to your side of the country. I lost another friend to cancer Tuesday night who I thought was going to beat it for sure and it always shoves it right in your face when you have cancer that you could be next to lose the battle. Missed you. Love and hugs.

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