Sunday, June 28

Fools Run photos

Photo by Erin Fahsholtz
The run was awesome. We ended up having about 21 people in the bus which was originally created for, oh, 10. It was a little cramped. I'm really surprised no one fell.
Along with the bus we also had one of our mechanics in the race, following us in the "Shop Truck" which was complete with working head lights and tail lights. He also had equipment to fix us, ie: tape, rope, etc.
There were four side panels, one front panel, and a license plate hanging from the back.
One other awesome costume was this dude, a driver from ACT that made an Xtratuff boot. Everyone wears these things - it was an instant hit.

Group shot!
Photo by Erin Fahsholtz
Side shot!
Photo by Erin Fahsholtz
Crossing the finish line!
Photo by Erin Fahsholtz

Saturday, June 27

Not So Merry Go-Round

I had a little unplanned free time this morning. I only have one tour today, and it leaves the dock at 5pm. A free morning! What to do?

Job search!

I looked for a job. Not sending out my resume or making phone calls. Just looking what's out there. As the days keep ticking by, I am getting more anxious about what needs to happen after I'm done in Juneau. Finding a job, moving, selling or renting my condo. I'm a good worrier. If I start early, I can spread out the stress instead of letting it strangle me in the weeks before I get home. However, it's not working that way.

As I'm looking at job postings, I can't help but feel it's a waste of time. I know I can do some good from here, but the real results come from getting into the places in person and then leave a lasting impression. That and I know I'm better in person than on paper.

All this and more has me anxious. Lists are all over the place. I'm playing with the ridiculous amount of variables that would change my travel/life plans in the near future. I'm trying to ease the stress by making plans, but I can't really make plans, so it's pointless.

I should just go for a walk.

Friday, June 26

Happy Birthday Ben!



My nephew is 2 today. As you can see, he is incredibly adorable. I can't wait to go back to Illinois and see him. He'll be huge! He'll be reading trade journals and spouting off theories on how to save our global economy. This kid is awesome.

It's my day off today. Going for a hike with The Bruce. Trying not to worry about Dan, as he got sick for three-ish days and is just now on the upswing. Having the stress of finals and getting sick - no good. It sounds like he has quite a bit of support from his classmates, and an adequate supply of medicine - I hope.

Had dinner with Mary and Lauren last night. Fun! One of the advantages of working for Holland America/Princess, is at the end of the season, I am eligible for a discounted cruise through them. I have never had the inclination to go on a cruise, but they seem to think it is a great time. We did quite a bit of talking about it. Mary was just married on a cruise, Lauren had a great time on hers. I'm still skeptical. I'm more of a get-out-and-do-it-myself sort of vacationer. Besides, I feel like I'm vacation now! I need to get home a find a real job, not float off and sit around for a week!

And to end, Congrats to Chris Longton for getting through his training with flying colors! Get home to Mrs. Longton already!

**

Just got back from a hike with Bruce. Instead of a new post I'll just add it on. I think I found a trail that has the potential to wear that little puppy out! However, I don't know yet, as I was tired way before he was. I think if we made it all the way to the tram (1800ft) and back down, he might come home and nap instead of wanting to still play. That dog has so much energy!





Wednesday, June 24

Run. Forest.

I am super excited for this Saturday night. I am part of a herd that is running in the Caterpillar catagory in this year's Fools Run. Several drivers, ops managers, and dock reps (maybe) are going to run together as a huge bus, complete with working tail lights (hopefully). In this part of the race, everyone has to be connected, so we will be a huge blue bus made out of cardboard, connected by rope (I'm assuming). There will be others in costumes that go with the bus motif - a dock rep holding a tour sign, and maybe a few tourists. It's going to be so much fun! Just wait for the pictures :)

And yes, this means my heal is feeling much better. I have been going on some serious walks with Bruce and the steady increase has been great for it. We did a bit of jogging today, and all was well. We'll bump it up again tomorrow to see how it would be for the race this Saturday, but I'm anticipating positive results.

Anyone know what this plant is? I thought that the pointed four leaf white flower like this was on Dogwood trees, but I've never seen it on a low plant. I only had my phone when I took Bruce for a walk, so the quality is poor, but maybe one of you lovely readers will know of the top of your head. I'll look it up too, but maybe I'll get lucky by asking.
Bruce and I went out to Brotherhood Bridge, and had a nice hour walk. The mosquitoes were a mess and we had to turn around early, but the views were incredible. It is great to be able to go for a walk through a rain forest at any location in town. The whole town is a rain forest!
This was maybe 200 yards off the main road that leads from the Valley to Out the Road. Right beside the Mendenhall River. Now that I know Bruce doesn't get car sick, I'll get some bug repellant and head back out. There are a ton of meandering trails of the main trail head, and the whole area is dog friendly and pretty safe from bears. Next time I'll bring my camera so the quality is a bit better. But you get the idea. It's gorgeous.

We hits 70 degrees today! It was a heat wave! I love this weather.

Tuesday, June 23

Summer solstice


What do you do in Juneau to celebrate the 18 hours and 18 minutes of sunlight at the Summer solstice? Jump into the Gastineau Channel! Or in my case, watch these five goons jump in the channel. It was 1030 at night, I'm down at Sandy Beach, and a car pulls up with these five all excited to freeze their bits off. I stayed in case they needed someone to drive them to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia. Don't they look excited?

There was a count down, a rush, and then some really funny conversations about needing to be fully submerged or not. The water was in the area of, oh, 45 degrees. I guess the deciding factor for the plunge was the purchase of some new floating devices that needed to be tried out. A bright pink inter tube and mattress looking thing were brought out, and were used for about 3 seconds.

It was a good time. And I'm happy to report that no one needed to be driven to the hospital.

Not much else has been going on. I'm in a pretty reliable routine with work. I'm reading another Dan-recommended book, Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. If you haven't read any of Stephenson's stuff, he has a wonderful way of creating settings and characters, and rolling out incredibly complex ideas with a nice blend of subtlty and bluntness.

Here is a view out of my life. At the docks, there are vendors that come each day and hang up all of their signage in hopes of enticing people who didn't purchase tours off of the cruise ships . I believe most of them are working for the same company, as they sell tickets, but the people end up getting on the same buses to go anywhere. When I see them like this, all propped up and waiting to shout out at passers by, it reminds me of puppets from Sesame Street - all of these vendors are stuck in their little windows.

At work, someone has pilfered my beloved coffee cup out of the drying wrack. I have now put up a note asking for it back, in hopes that someone just really needed a coffee cup and will return it when they know it is missed. It went missing the same day as Baxter. I don't want to diminish Baxter's disappearance with something like a coffee cup, but losing both - well, it just sucks.

But lets leave this on a positive note. Dan has regular Internet access now that he's in Dharamsala. I'm not sure of the nuts and bolts, but I'm happier getting to hear from him more often. Less coffee to-go, but more Dan. I'll take it.

Saturday, June 20

Happy Father's Day

This is my dad. Glen Johnson. I'm convinced he can do anything he sets his mind to. Need a trailer made from scratch? Done. New bookshelves? No Problem. Best German chocolate cake in history? My dad makes it. Repeatedly. Put shelves up, know-how for electrical problems, brakes, framing pictures, cooking turkey, growing rose bushes, and just about everything else. Dad is a doer. And he does it well.


Being up in Alaska this summer has made me revisit some memories I gathered while on my first trip here, back when I was 12 and visiting my dad while he was working in Anchorage. We went halibut fishing in Homer. The swells were huge! I caught a 24 pound fish, and I got to have the proud moment of standing next to it to get my picture taken. Just me, my brothers, and my dad, fishing in Alaska. I love talking about that trip when I am on my bus and passengers ask me why I wanted to work in Alaska.

I love the relationship I have with my dad. We fix stuff. We cook. We get errands finished and we talk about projects. He explains, in detail if I want, any project he's working on, or any job he's been on. I've called him while driving to ask about how a steering differential works, and he tells me! We made a date to tear his breaks apart just so I could learn how to replace them, should I choose to do so in the future! My audacity to drive from Illinois to Alaska would have been a pipe dream if I didn't have my dad as my own personal travel/AAA agent. Maps, materials, reassurance, and handy road side assistance are always only a phone call away.

I can see his easy charm come out when he's chatting with people. He gets to the heart of problems and wants to help. He genuinely wants to help people. He has so many stories I've never heard. So much life that I'm just finding out about. He has lived through hard things, learned about himself, and has been made better for it. In my short 26 years, I've seen some amazing positive changes in him and I'm glad I'm part of that.

I am a lucky girl to have my dad.

Thursday, June 18

Through the weekly excitement

The busiest days in the tourism world here are Tuesday and Wednesday. We have the most ships in then, and the tour schedules get crazy. The radio is full of chatter almost all day as counts get confirmed, coaches get rerouted, things break down, and the usual slosh gets done. This week I got a challenge on both days, as I was given the complicated schedule. Because of the number of tours, it is possible on Tuesday and Wednesday that we don't have enough buses or drivers to work the schedule with the typical ease. It isn't ideal, but in these cases we run tours inside of other tours. It can get complicated, but it can be fun too.

I had this both days, and was happy that the timing worked out. I was driving almost non stop from 7:15 to 12:45, making the drops and pick ups between the locations. I was making little notes about which group had heard which stories and facts so I wouldn't repeat myself, and it all ended well. When this type of schedule happens, I hope I am able to keep it together so my groups don't have the feeling of being cheated on. I want each group to feel they have my undivided attention, and even if they don't see me while at a stop, I want them to think I am waiting patiently to return so I can answer questions, fill their head with tasty tid bits of Alaska brain food, or be available to chat and get to know them. If they knew I was conducting myself with a whole different group, would they feel their experience was genuine? I don't want to take the chance. It's best if they think their driver isn't two-timing with tourists. I think it went well.

I'm off today. Usually I dread days off, but this week I will take it gladly. Kodak has been rolling around by my feel playing with toys, and practicing his ninja jumps all morning. Quality kitty time is essential to keep my sanity and remember to give large quantities of love. It's hard to be selfish when he looks up with his butterscotch eyes and wants a good scratch.

And for a picture today, I'll revisit a promise I made quite a while ago. A view of Xtratuffs. The foot gear of choice here. In rain, on a boat, or for casual wear, these boots can be seen all over town in lots of industries. They are more common than tennis shoes.

To my knowledge, they only come in brown, which is great. They have a super think sole, and to my understanding, are really comfortable. With 97 inches of rain falling in the downtown area (we're in a rain forest!) it makes sense to have super dry feet. Sydney from Allen Marine (the whale watching company) was nice enough too pose for me.

And for a burst of cute, I couldn't pass up sharing this little guy in his bright yellow rain coat. All he wanted to to was jump in that puddle. (They make Xtratuffs for kids, but he's not quite big enough.)

Sunday, June 14

Zipping Video

video

Kyle took a video of our last zip line! Enjoy!

Four days is too long for no update!

I had Friday off. With the free time I went on a Zip Line tour with my friend Lauren. It was misty, and all the water made it that much faster. It was close to 40 mph! We had a ton of fun with all the other zippers, and the two guides, Kyle and Daniel, were a blast too. Almost three hours of adrenaline and fun.
This is the group minus Kyle, who is out on the line taking the picture.
There were two Indiana Jones style bridges. We had to split the group up in two for weight purposes, and my group was having a blast swinging the bridge all over the place. This is our cheesy picture, which I think is pretty cute.
Lauren and I, looking like goobers. After zipping, we back to the house and watched a movie before going to a BBQ at Carrie's parent's house.

Carrie and Jacque hosted a great BBQ. The shore ex from the Volendam came for dinner too, and it ended up being a good group. Carrie made this amazing baked brie, with brown sugar, whiskey, and walnuts on top. So good! I'm can't wait to make it for my own party!
Lauren and Mary
Along with the great party and great atmosphere, Carrie and Jacque were responsible for taking care of Kimber, a black lab puppy. It was such a good dog!
We all played with her for so long and so hard, that he just tuckered out on the couch. Already she can fetch and has got the "I'm adorable" gallop down pat.
The two on the left are some of my managers, and the man on the right was the shore ex from the ship. They were so intently playing some Mario game on Carrie's Wii.

Jacque!
This is Travis. I felt a little bad for being part of the group that kept saying he looked like the dude from Reno 911, since he just shaved his beard into a moustache, but it almost had to be done. Travis is a fire fighter and he couldn't respond to any fires in the recent months because of his beard - it wouldn't make an air tight seal in the face mask. We'll see how long he puts up with the teasing.

Saturday was a different type of adventure.

I was doing an Evening Quest Whale watching tour, and just before the end my bus broke down. I couldn't get it started and had to rustle up some fast transportation for the very last tour of the day so they wouldn't miss their All-Abord time. A little stressful, but it ended fine. The frustrating part was it was a dead battery. It died in the 20 minutes I was waiting for my people to show up. Ug!

I got to talk to Dan, which is always a nice surprise. He was traveling that day from Shimla to Dharamsala and had stopped on the trip for some lunch. His lunch was my bed time. It works.

Today was easy stuff. The big excitement was possibly finding Baxter, as one of my neighbors said she saw a black and white cat with a pink nose and green eyes. I thought maybe she didn't get a good look at the eyes, as Baxter's are yellow, but when I got home today, it was no good. I found the same cat she spotted, and yes, it was black and white, with green eyes. Almost the exact same markings as B, but definitely not him. It sucked to go through. I'll keep you posted on any more B sightings that may come up.

Thursday, June 11

A little reality

Work wise, I got it easy today. Other than waking up at 4:30 so I could make coffee, so I could be awake, so I could be in the yard at 6am, it was smooth sailing. A little shuttle duty, then a small little tour with 22 really fun people.

After I went home this afternoon, I took the bike out of my back seat that Wes, the dock rep, and I mashed in there yesterday. I put the tires back on, and hooked up all the brake lines, readjusted the brake handles and super annoying extra reflectors, and set off on a ride to the yard to time myself. Four miles in under 15 minutes. I can definitely do that for work. I'll add in a little time to change there, and WHAMO, I'm shrinking my gas bill.

I went to dinner with Erin and some others at Twisted Fish. A nice group with fun conversation. I rode home. I was just about to leave to go play softball when I got a call from Dan. It has been so hard going from talking to him everyday, to not knowing when I'll talk to him next, or when he'll get a chance to be around an Internet connection. But today we talked!

I got to hear all about his visits and adventures, cooking classes, homework movie assignments, and lots of things I can't remember names for. He is having such a wonderful time, and already the first half of his classes ends on Saturday. In less than two months, he'll be here!

I unloaded about Baxter, all my worries, trouble it's giving me at work, thinking the worse, and being generally miserable. He made me feel better in ways that only someone you love can, and I felt lucky to have him. I was buoyed by our talk.

I went and played pool after softball with Lev, Erin, and Lauren. The girls and I decided to try and go on a zip line tour tomorrow, since we're all off, and after a short while, we called it a night. When I pulled in to the drive, my headlights crossed over a large black bear, making it's way across the driveway, and into the woods. The first thing I thought of was, "Of course Baxter isn't just hanging around! He doesn't want to battle a black bear!" So now I'm back to feeling like I've lost my cat for good and nature has taken over.

My friend sent me this link so maybe not all is lost.

Wednesday, June 10

Still no Baxter.

I have tomorrow off. I'm planning a hike around the house to put my smell out there. I'm all out of sorts.

Oops. Skip that. Now I work tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 9

MOCCA

It's a long shot, but did any one get to go to this last weekend? I was going through my favorite comics this morning, and came across the poster. If you remember from about a month ago, I was looking into Octopi and this one caught my eye. Maybe next year this time I'll be in New York and can attend! A museum for comic and cartoon art!

Still no Baxter.

My house mates have left for about two weeks. They are over at Carrie's mom's house taking care of some things, so no Bruce, no Carrie, no Jacque. Only one cat in all this space is just weird. Yesterday was particularly hard, as I was really feeling the onset of potentially never seeing B again, and then I got chewed out at the Bema by Julie at Allen Marine for something that I wasn't responsible for. Ug. I was one of three drivers for a whale watching boat, and one of the drivers showed up early (just as bad as showing up late in the tourism world). I was on the road, about five minutes early, and called in to the Bema to see how things were looking. I had plenty of time to do a roll through at the university to take up the time, but they told me to come down. They were frustrated because the first driver was so early and then had to reroute the other two drivers, and I caught the wrath. I just about cried right there in front of all the passengers.

I had to go back to the Bema later and I asked Julie what was going on, and she apologized, but for those four hours in between, I was thinking completely irrationally, contemplating packing up and moving out. I just want my cat back.

The week of sun has passed. Yesterday we had cloudy skies, and today is the same. I like it.

I finished the book American Gods yesterday. I am still processing it, but it was thought provoking. David, I'll talk to you about it for sure.

And to wrap it up today, one of the other drivers gave me a bike! It is an old, red, ten speed. He just had a friend tune it up, put puncture resistant tires on it, and didn't want it anymore. I said, sure I'll take it! It's only 4 miles to the shop from my house, and all bike friendly road. I need to get a light and fenders (as it rains tons), but other than that, it's perfect! He wouldn't take anything for it, so I'm trying to think of something to do for him. It's just too great a gift.

Sunday, June 7

Evening walk

Erin and I went for a walk about in Marine Park tonight. Had a little Pel Menis, did some girl talk, enjoyed the views.
The ships that come in to port are huge. I had forgotten just how freakin' big they are until we went down to a small pier that's used for float plane departures. We got so see the bow up close at the 8 foot tide level (we have 24 foot tides here).

There was also some silly and sweet sidewalk chalk art. It was a good night. I talked to both my mom and my dad today, both unplanned, and both gave good hopes for Baxter's return. Dad gave me some ideas for traveling home, and we got each other excited for the coming of Miah and Jessie's baby girl, due in September.

New Photos

This is Erin. She is great. We went to watch a big band that was playing in Marine Park, and then we went back to her house. She has an awesome apartment right downtown.
This is the big band.
View of downtown from the Douglas Bridge.
This is where I live now. Douglas Island!
This is Mary and Adam. We have quite a bit of stage time, or down time, in between tours, and here is how they spend it - sudoku races.
Erin and I went for a walk on Sandy Beach yesterday. Here is a little bit of it.
This is part of the old Tredwell Mine, which was a mine that attemped to dig by and under the Gastineau Channel for gold, but it collapsed on itself. Much of the mine still remains, now with lots of hiking trails around it.

Baxter is still missing. I talked to my mom today and sheh made me feel better about it. Thanks to all who have given support. I'm sure he'll turn up. I'll keep you posted.
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