Monday, August 31

Unload the camera

I haven't been taking very many pictures lately, but here are some that have been on my camera for awhile.

Kristy sent me an awesome care package. In it was this pin. Roar

This is Sarah Ramano. She has worked for Allen Marine all summer as a dock rep. Today is her last day. I'm so jealous she is going home tomorrow.

And this is when we went out a few weeks ago.

Friday, August 28


Had my first day as a dispatcher today. It was great!

I got to see how the other side works: the crazy radio calls that constantly come in, the random changes, tour counts going up and down depending on peoples' feelings on rain, drivers making decisions that they think are correct when in fact they make the lives of others more complicated, and meeting a ton of great people. I liked it. I got a lot of positive feedback. I got kudos from all three shore excursion managers that came off the ships today, and overall, I didn't suck. Next week is going to be even better now that I know what I'm doing!

Tomorrow, instead of working dock side with a radio and clip board, I'll be in the office with a radio and a white board of drama. I'm more nervous about tomorrow than I was about today. I have to fix all the problems tomorrow, where as today I just told Lev about them, and he fixed them.

To add to tomorrow's stress, the draft for my fantasy football league is at 7pm. I've been making my lists tonight. It feels like I getting ready for a test and I'm making a cheat sheet. Overall it will be fun - trash talking and beer with football as the catalyst. How can it be bad?

And I apologize for the schizophrenic blog design. I can't rearrange the furniture, so this is the next best thing.

Tuesday, August 25


Benjamin holding my new niece, Cecilia.

I can't wait to meet her!

Pantalón de lluvia

Today it rained .43 inches. It felt like so much more. It was fluctuating between drizzle and power wash mode. Or maybe I was in a washing machine? I don't know. It all happened in a blur.

But I now own rain pants, and I'm pretty sure I'll be wearing them everyday until I go home. After thinking about the overall mental clarity they will provide, along with warmth, I went out and got them. Plus, is $1.75/day all that much to pay for my remaining time here? I think not. And now I can ride my hypothetical motorcycle home if it starts to drizzle. And they make a nice swishy sound. Very good.

All evening I've either had Kodak perched on my chest while I read, or I've watched him keep a vigil at the entrance to my room keeping Bruce from coming in. He owns me. I didn't realize just how protective he has become until tonight. Even now, typing up a storm, he can't be bothered to leave my lap. My left elbow is resting somewhat uncomfortably on his bum.

Speaking of reading, Linda sent me a new book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. So far, an entertaining read. There are some scenes that are a bit uncomfortable, but the main female character is wonderfully original, and the story is starting to get juicy. Two thumbs up so far. I just saw the follow up book at Costco last week. My first impression is that it has great cover art.

The other fun thing that is starting soon is this season's fantasy football draft. It's taking place this Saturday, and through the Superbowl, I'll have one more reason to enjoy watching football on Sundays - watching for my player's stats and (hopefully) winning in the end. Even if I don't win, I love football Sundays. Waking up with coffee and a bowl of cereal, and listing to those silly talking heads blab about who will be amazing in the upcoming games. I'm a sucker for highlight reels, and really, there isn't anything quite like a solid connection between a quarterback and his wide receiver. So excited!

That reminds me of when I knew Sarah and I would be friends: I heard her shouting from down the hallway, some wild obscenities, and when I walked down to see if she was ok, all I saw was her sitting on her couch in her dorm room, screaming at the television. Someone was doing something stupid in the sports world. The next time I heard it, I just walked in and watched it with her. Done. Friends ever since.

Monday, August 24

And just for fun...

Aww. Isn't it cute?

Monday - Five weeks left!

Five weeks until I leave Juneau! Unfortunately, these last five weeks will probably be nonstop rain and cold. I have a huge aversion to going out and buying rain pants with the end so near, but I'll go and do it. Today was so cold! So freaking cold! Dan made the scale tip in favor of the shopping trip: I said I couldn't justify the purchase, and he said that if I had a motorcycle later I would use them. Justified!

Dan is back in Carbondale finally. With him spending so much time in the air lately, it feels good to know he'll be on the ground for quite a while. On the ground in our apartment! He'll be busy getting moved in while also trying to get his reading done for class. Five weeks, and I'll be on my way there!

Sometimes I'm such a girl.

Saturday, August 22

Care package!

I came home today to one of my favorite things: mail! There was a care package sitting in the foyer from my dear friend Kristy, and ripping it open made me so happy. And I needed a boost. I am firmly in the dregs of a post-Dan visit. I'm tired all the time, I don't want to tour, I don't want to be here, I don't care about much of anything. Lauren has posted a count down chain in her office, like the paper chains we used to make to count down to Christmas. Staring September first, there will be so much joy in watching her rip off a paper ring.

People are dropping like flies, slowly dwindling down the driver list as people go home. It's raining all the time. I'm cold all the time. I'm trying to not think about much of anything. I'm reading a lot. I'm sleeping a lot. That is me at the moment.

Jacque and Bruce have moved back in the house while Carrie is off to Boston to visit her mom. Kodak is back on the defensive, and the sounds of WoW have returned. I'm back in the blue room.

Thursday, August 20


Dan is gone. He flew out yesterday on his way to Maine, through Anchorage and Chicago. Off to Molly and Stephen's wedding. It was more than great to have him here. Having someone to come home to (not that Kodak isn't wonderful), cook for, eat with, and be loved by. It was raining just about the entire time, so we didn't do much outside of the house, but that didn't put a damper on the visit.

And for the record, Dan looks great in his new suit.

There are only 38 days left in the tourism season, and for that time my job is changing. Some of our dispatchers have left in the operations office, and to fill the gaps, they have been bringing in some new faces to get the work covered. They were still short, so here I go. I'll still be a bus driver for three or four days a week, then working in the ops center/on the docks the others. I'm really excited to get some experience on the office side, and have a bit of a mental break from touring. Learning something new will keep me going these last few days. Plus, I'll be working more, which here, is always a good thing.

Sunday, August 16

A little boost

Happy Sunday!

Sometimes at the end of my tours, between the spot where I drop people off for down town, but before their ship, I start to talk about some pretty random stuff. The time is open for questions, so the conversation goes wherever the few remaining passengers take it. Sometimes they ask about me.

Last week when I was doing a tour off of the Star Princess, this happened, and a small group was curious to know what I do in Juneau when I'm not working.

"Oh, I do a little hiking and I read a lot. I try to write letters to keep up with the people I'm away from."

They all made a little noise about writing letters, saying no one does it anymore, and they thought it quite cute that a bus driver could be included among the ranks of that lost form of correspondence.

"Some girls have shoes. Some girls have hand bags. I have stationary. There is nothing like a high quality piece of cotton parchment!" Yes, I said that. Yes, I understand it sounds ridiculous. After that, I said to the crowd, "If any of you are writers, leave me your address - I'll write you a note!"

No one left me their address. That is, no one left it with me as they were getting off the bus.

Yesterday I was getting off work and went to my box to get my punch card. There waiting for me was a piece of paper saying:

Please pass this information along to a driver of yours who goes by "Ariel." Thank you - signed the Shore Excursion Manager from the Star Princess. Below that was an address.

I was stumped for a few minutes until I remembered my silly dialogue the week before that I recounted above. Someone sent me their address!

I put a little note in the mail today. We'll see what happens next. I got so happy about it. Dan laughed at me, but it mattered - that someone went to the effort to pass along a little personal lifeline. Yes I'm just a tour guide, but maybe when someone gets on my bus I turn their whole vacation around. Maybe they're having a horrible time in our cool, wet weather, and my silly talking gives them something to laugh about, or make fun of - either way, it doesn't matter to me.

Friday, August 14


Dan is here! Dan is here!

We've been having a grand time together. Yesterday I had off from work, so we went whale watching. The rest of the time he's been here, we've been taking in some of the local flavor. Here are some whales for you !

Bubble net feeding!


Lauren got to come with us, as she had the day off also. Yay!

I think tourists are funny. I especially like the dude in the rockin' turquoise fedora. Very nice!

Proof we were there.

Saturday, August 8

Herbert Glacier

Went for a hike with Lauren yesterday out to the Herbert glacier. This is such a great trail. It is fast and wide at the start, designed for bikes, then around mile 3 it abruptly runs smack into "pink flag" terrain (Where's the trail? Oh! Look! Follow the pink flags tied to bushes!)
There are two ares where the Herbert river is right next to the trail. It is so pretty; a smokey color that is caused by glacial silt, and then helped this day by the over cast skies.

Getting up to the glacier, rapids pop out, sending a nice mist over the area, and cooling us down quite nicely.

Yay! Self portrait!

This is the first view of the glacier we got. Here we're still about two miles from our stopping point.So pretty! The sun popped through the clouds for just a moment and lit the top of what we could see.

This is the underbelly of a piece of glacier that had been severed from the face. Herbert is receding. Even in the five years since I'd been here, there has been some pretty drastic change.

It is still gorgeous. The pictures don't do it justice.

Such a great day!

The trail itself was 4.6 miles one way. After we had hiked all around near the glacier, Lauren and I are content to say we did an even 10 miles round trip. There were tons of people out, even with the rain starting to fall as we were coming back.

Lauren and I are both fairly competitive, and we saw a pack of runners just as we were coming back to the wide portion of the trail - they were going in. They happen to be from a competitor bus company, so we decided to run the rest of the way back. It is so hard to run with a back pack on! Silly, I know, but it kept us both motivated and energized for those last miles.

After, we met up with Mary and went out to dinner to celebrate her birthday. Sushi at the Canton House was delicious, and it's always great to talk with my girlfriends. They are wonderful ladies.

And then *poof*! Dan comes tomorrow! I've taken to calling it D-day, with the countdown in full effect around those who know he's coming. I'm off again today (not happy about that) which means I'll be pacing around and being in a anxious state, unable to keep my mind focused for long periods of time (it's taken me much longer than you think to get this post out).

Enjoy the photos. Again, click on any one you want to see larger. It helps to see more detail in the glacier pics. So pretty!

Friday, August 7

I am so excited for Dan to be here on Sunday, I can hardly stand it! All of this counting down and now it's here. Yay!

Last couple days have been easy and quick. Most everyone getting off a ship is happy. Our weather is making the job a breeze. I mean, who complains about 70 degrees with a view? The smoke has lingered through today still, but it's nowhere near as bad as Monday's red tinge.

We are starting to say goodbye to drivers that came up in May. Their 100 day contracts are coming up. We had a work BBQ last night out at Sandy Beach. Played volleyball for a few hours, ate some food, drank some beer. It was a good time. Most of the people who are leaving didn't show up to the BBQ, which I thought was a little funny, but we still had a good time. This last little push to end the season is going to start getting crazy: fewer drivers = more hours (!), more crazy scheduling to make the tours work, and probably time flying faster. 53 days til I leave on the ferry, and about 65 until I'm in Carbondale. Yesssss.

I'm off today. Lauren and I are going to go explore the Herbert Glacier trail. This is a totally different hike than our summit last week, and quite frankly, that is just fine. We'll be able to do our trail run out there, as they've redesigned it to be a biking trail. It's wider, and much more gradual. I doubt we'll go all the way back to the glacier, but you never know. We just want to get outside.

Mary is having a birthday party at her house tomorrow night, then Dan comes in the afternoon on Sunday. I took Monday off work, and all the rest is up in the air.

Happy weekend!

Monday, August 3


I feel bad for not posting, but really, there isn't anything going on!

This morning, Juneau woke up to a smoke haze coming into the channel. As the day progressed, visibility went down to about 5 miles, and they expect it to stay through Wednesday. Somewhere in B.C. and the Yukon, there are forest fires that were supposedly sparked by lightning strikes. The typical wind current for our part of the Southeast comes NE to SW, so we are in the direct line.

Smelly, hot, and it hurts my throat. Brings me back to burn days at the farm, where we'd cut down dead trees and clear the property, burning it all over a weekend. Split that wood! Stack it high! *cough* *cough*

Today we had a MOOSE meeting (My Ownership Of Safety Excellence, or something like that). Basically recognition for a job well done. If a driver gets kudos from passengers and writes up a comment card on the boat, those make their way back to the office. Other drivers can write up co-workers too, if ever they see something that is (fake word here) write-up-able. It ends up being really fun to cheer on all the people that get announced. Usually there is a good 40 or 50 people that end up with write ups over the month.

At the meeting today, I was given the employee of the month award, having nine passengers in July that took the time to write up my tour. Part of me feels like really uncomfortable with it, and part of me is really happy I have some validation of being good at my job. It would have been great to get the letters, and skip the EOTM thing. If I get a huge sticker on my car that says "DORK" I wouldn't be surprised. I'm just trying to fly under the radar, do my job, and go home.
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