Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to School

Boy has it been busy around here.  I am finally starting to feel like I might be recovered from my surgery (except that my taste buds are still messed up so food doesn't taste good, SAD) and I just finished my first week back at work with my students.  This year I only have 22 students which is so much easier then the 30 I had last year.  They will still keep me plenty busy.

Not only have I been getting used to getting back into work but my parents came into town to see my brothers new son (he is very cute and chubby).  They decided to rent a place in Park City for the weekend so we could all be together and they would not have to bounce around from house to house.  We had a great time just hanging out and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

We went hiking just outside of Park City (my cute mom is in red)

This last weekend Jeff and I had the opportunity to go to Bear Lake with some friends.  Our friend Jared has a family cabin there that he gets to use for friends once a year.  We had so much fun in the fresh air (just what I needed after a long work week) and relaxed in the lake.

Isn't he cute when he is hanging on a buoy
The power went out and I just happened to have some glow sticks from my treasure box
Overall it has been busy but wonderful all at the same time.  I have Back-to-School night tomorrow night and I am not looking forward to a long evening, but I know that we have a short week next week to look forward to.  What will our next adventure be? Hummmmmmmm?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Tonsil Free Wife

(Side note from Robyn: This is the major reason it has taken me so long to get Jeff's posts up.  I am feeling better but I still haven't gotten all of my energy back.  School starts soon so I hope that it gets better before then.)

Three weeks ago, Robyn had surgery.

She has had way too much strep throat in her life.  In addition, her tonsils have continually been infected and caused allergy like symptoms even though she's not allergic to anything.  She's been suffering through that for a long time and finally decided to break up with her tonsils.

We had just gotten back from our sweet Alaskan cruise.  I had a lot to catch up on at work, so I asked my mom to take her to the hospital for her surgery so that I could work.  I told her it was very important to document the process, she happily obliged.

They let Robyn wear a very cute hat.
If you're wondering what it's like to have surgery, here is a first person view.

Once she got home, it was my job to take care of her.  To be honest, it wasn't all that difficult.  I mostly functioned as a waiter.
She purchased all the necessary supplies beforehand.
My most important job was to keep her water cold.  Her throat would really hurt when it got dry so it was very important for her to drink lots of water.  The colder the water, the less it hurt.  I just made sure that her cup was always filled to the brim with ice.  That was my most important job, but it wasn't my only job.  I also took her order no matter what it was.  Normal waiters don't have to drive all the way to Red Mango, but I did.

Waiters usually don't get themselves a treat, but I did.
My second duty after being a waiter was to document Robyn on drugs.  I was kind of disappointed.  She didn't say very many funny things.

However, there was one amusing incident.  She told me, "We're gonna be so busy.  We have so many things happening."

I was a little confused because we didn't have any plans for at least a week, other than letting her stay home and heal.  So I asked her what we were so busy with.

"Just my mind."

Robyn has a pretty happening mind on painkillers.

She's mostly healed now. I no longer have to be her waiter.  So if you want to talk to a tonsil free woman, come on over.

Seattle, Washington

When our Alaska Cruise was complete, we returned to our origin, which was Seattle, Washington.

We had one last breakfast on the ship, and then made our way to land.  I left Robyn with the luggage and took a shuttle to where the car was parked.  We figured it would be easier for me to drive to her, so that we wouldn't have to load all of the luggage onto the shuttle.  That would probably have been true if I had any idea where I was going.

I pulled out of the parking lot and found myself on a one way street.  The one way street had signs saying that I was getting on some highway.  I didn't want to be on a highway, I wanted to drive back to the boat dock where my wife was located.  I was looking for a place where I could do a U-turn.  No such place existed, but as I was searching I wasn't exactly driving fast.  The guy behind me didn't appreciate my slow speed, he made some gestures that weren't exactly friendly.

I eventually got turned around and made my way back.  I was able to pick up my wife.  I didn't have to return to Utah in shame after losing her.

Once we got all the luggage loaded up, we drove to our hotel and just parked the car there.  We got an expensive hotel that was centrally located for everything we wanted to do.  Then we took on downtown Seattle on foot.

Our first adventure was at the Seattle Aquarium.  I took millions of pictures of various sea creatures but I'll just share a few.

They had different lights shining on the jelly fish so they changed colors.

I really liked this picture Robyn got of the Octopus.

I want to be Cthulhu when I grow up, but I'll settle for an Octopus.

They had an exhibit of Pacific fish.  It made me really happy to see all the fish I saw snorkeling in Hawaii.

I got to touch an anemone!  It was so cool, the tentacles were grabbing me and trying to eat me.
The next place we wanted to hit was the EMP museum.  It was about 1.5 miles from the Aquarium.  Our walk took us right through the Pike Place Market.  My original plan was to eat lunch somewhere inside, but when we saw the billions of people inside we decided we wanted something simpler.  We stopped at a Subway that we happened to pass near the museum.  That was sufficiently delicious (plus we had a fancy dinner planned for that night, but more on that later.)

The EMP museum was super fun.  We didn't spend tons of time with the music exhibits.  We were there for the geek stuff, (the science fiction and fantasy exhibits.)
I got to sit upon the iron throne.

Robyn had trouble with tribbles

The Dalek tried to exterminate me.

Sometimes I go at warp speed.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the Seattle Center.  We saw a laser show that was attuned to the Beatles.  It was pretty awesome.

Finally, it was dinner time.  That's where our fancy dinner came in.  To see where we were eating dinner we just had to look up.
We totally ate dinner at the top of the Space Needle.

Robyn is cute in space.

The view was fantastic.
The restaurant slowly rotates as you eat dinner, so throughout your time there you get the city view, the lake view and then the view of the sound.  The food was absolutely amazing as well.

Finally, after a day full of adventure we returned to our hotel room for a relaxing evening.

We stayed there for the location, but the view was pretty fantastic as well.
The next morning, we wanted to visit Robyn's grandfather in Bremerton.  We wanted to take the ferry, but we had quite an adventure getting to the ferry terminal.  Our GPS got us lost a few times, but we made it alive.  I've never driven my car onto a boat before.

Onboard the ferry, they let you get out of the car and walk around.  The ferry was an adventure in itself.
Robyn was super cute with the skyline in the background.
I had to use the bathroom, but when I walked in I was super confused because there were no urinals, but there was a giant sink.  I really wanted a picture of it, so I waited awkwardly until everyone left.

The sea gulls were flying the same speed as the ferry so it was like they were hovering.  People were throwing food in the air and they would have dog fights to see who could catch the food mid air.  It was pretty awesome.
 After I finished watching the sea gulls I noticed the jelly fish.  I was just looking over the edge when I saw a whole school of them.  They were pretty amazing.  I wanted a picture, but by the time I pulled out my phone they were gone.

Finally, we landed in Bremerton.  I didn't realize that other members of Robyn's family would be visiting her grandfather that day.  So, it was a special treat to get to spend time with lots of family.  Some of them I had met before, most of them this was my first time.  But all of them were super kind and super fun.

This isn't everyone that was there.  Some of them had already left when we thought to get a picture.
We spent the night at grandpa's house..  It was definitely special to spend time with so much family.  Grandpa even provided bacon for breakfast.  That is love.

Unfortunately, after breakfast we had to make the long drive home.

We got home about 1 in the morning.  I was so tired I wanted to cry, but I got to sleep in my own bed.   It's the best bed on the planet.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Victoria, British Columbia

The last port on our cruise was Victoria, British Columbia.

The first thing I saw when I got off the ship was the Canadian flag.  Canada may not be very exotic, but we were in a different country.  Woot!
We had to figure out how to get from the dock into town.  My parents went and chatted with some taxi drivers and tour companies.  I let them figure it out.  I went straight to the big Victoria sign to take a super touristy picture.
Once we figured out how to get around, we booked a tour bus that would take us out to the Butterfly Garden and the Butchart Garden.
Zack didn't obey the rules on the bus.
The first place the bus dropped us off was the Butterfly Garden.  It was absolutely beautiful!  There were numerous kinds of butterflies.  There were flamingos, turtles, various other birds and billions of butterflies.  We took a million pictures but I'll just share a few.

It landed on me.  Robyn didn't have a chance to change the camera settings before it flew away.  So it's a little washed out but she got the shot.

Robyn was distressed about the one that landed on her.
After the Butterfly Garden, we headed to the Butchart Gardens.

The Butchart Gardens were stunning.  It was something that Robyn had really wanted to do, but I ended up enjoying it much more than I thought I would.

I loved these corridors made entirely of flowers.  I told Robyn this is a good place to take engagement pictures.  We should have known that 5 years ago.
We came around the corner and looked down on this beautiful sunken garden.

Robyn's job is always to take pictures of flowers.  She had her work cut out for her that day.

Robyn's parents had taken a picture of this globe long ago.  In Robyn's mind, this globe represents the Butchart Gardens.  Naturally, we had to get a picture.

This was a top secret window out to the boat harbor.

Every inch of the whole place was covered in flowers.

One of these is a statue, the other is me.  Can you tell the difference?

We had a great experience at the Butchart Garden.  Afterward, the tour bus took us back to the ship.  We still had a couple hours before we had to be back, but we were tired so we decided our time in Canada was done.

But there was one little thing that I really wanted to do.  Upon our original entry into Canada they didn't stamp my passport.  I really wanted it stamped.  So we went back into the Port of Entry to find someone who could help us out.

When we went in, there was no one manning the station.  I was dismayed, "What if someone sneaks into Canada?"  Robyn didn't think they were very worried about that.

Eventually we tracked someone down and told him we really wanted the stamp.

After accomplishing our mission we got back on the ship.  It was our last night on a cruise.  Don't worry.  Our adventures weren't over yet.  We still had some adventures planned in Seattle after our cruise ship landed.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

The third adventure on our Alaskan cruise happened entirely on board the ship.  The ship took an excursion into the Tracy Arm Fjord for a viewing of the Dawes Glacier.

The captain came on the loud speaker the night before we entered the Tracy Arm area.  He said that we would enter the fjord at about 5 AM and that we would reach the glacier about 7 AM.  I told Robyn I definitely didn't want to miss it, so we needed to be awake.

Of course,  I had been waking up ridiculously early for the entire trip.  I normally wake up around 7 AM in Utah.  7 AM in Utah is 5 AM in Alaska, so I would usually wake up at 5 and  be completely done sleeping.  Of course, the early to bed, early to rise lifestyle is not the best for a cruise.  They have all sorts of shows and activities late at night.  But by 8:00 every night I was ready for some good sleep.

However, this one day was the day for the early risers.  (If they ever invent a time machine, someone should go back and read this blog to High School me.  It would blow his mind that I am an early riser.)  I woke up ridiculously early as usual.  I still read my book for a little while before waking Robyn.  I figured we could miss some of the fjord, but I definitely didn't want to miss the glacier.

Around 6:30, we got dressed and headed up to the top deck.  If we had a window room we could have just enjoyed the view from our room, but we didn't so we headed up top.  I didn't really mind though, I absolutely loved the chilly Alaskan air.  It's the freshest smelling air you'll ever breathe.  Not to mention, how awesome is it to be in 40 degree weather in July?

When we got to the top deck, we walked around the whole ship to check everything out.  People were crowded around the bow, looking at the glacier off in the distance.  We picked an uncrowded spot on the port side and just watched amazing nature go by.

Every half mile or so, there were these little glacier fed stream/waterfalls.
I loved the greenery with the mountain backdrop and the wisps of fog.
We saw 5 or 6 seals.  These were chilling on the ice, others would swim on top for a moment and then vanish
Before we reached the Dawes Glacier, we saw this one off in the distance.  I imagine there were dozens of glaciers all around us that were too high to see.
After we'd been up there 20 minutes or so, we ran into my parents as they were making their way around the ship.
Notice the mug in my mom's hand.

On the ship, you can eat all the food you want in the buffet for free.  However, when ever you come up to the top deck, you always encounter people selling drinks.  I was never interested because I don't drink alcohol, but this particular morning they offered hot chocolate.  It was like 5 dollars, so I still declined, but my mom bought some.  The thing is,  they just asked her if she wanted hot chocolate, they handed her the mug and asked for money.  My dad was mad because he didn't realize it cost money.  They almost gave the mug back, but decided they'd just do it.  I guess we're a cheap family.  That's just how we roll.

Finally we started to approach the glacier.
The ship was able to get about a mile from the glacier.  Then the captain just rotated the ship in place.  I didn't realize they could do that.  But it just sat there and did a 360 degree spin for about an hour, spinning around 3 or 4 times in that span.  That way all parts of the ship had a chance to get a front row seat.  We had staked out a good spot on the edge and just waited for our spot to become the front row.  When the time came, people came and crawled all over us for a minute, but it was all good.  The scenery was beautiful.

We make the glacier look precious.
I was blown away by the deep blue color.
I loved the deep blue color.  It looks like frozen antifreeze or something.  I don't know what causes it, but the little floating pieces of ice were really blue as well.

At one point, we were standing there looking at the glacier and chatting, when a huge chunk of it fell off.  (The word on the street is that they call that "calving".   I call it "breaking off a big chunk".  Calving does seem more concise.)

I looked around to see if we were in trouble for breaking the glacier, as the giant chunk fell into the water.  After a few seconds there was a roaring sound like thunder.  I wish I had gotten video, or even just audio.  The sound was amazing.  We felt like we were pretty close up, but the delay in sound made us realize how far away we really were.  That means the glacier is much more ginormous than I realized.

Finally, after enjoying the view for a long time we made our way to the main dining room for breakfast.  I enjoyed my eggs benedict and watched out the window as the ship slowly made its way back out of the fjord.  We chatted and watched Alaska go by as the ship began its journey toward our final stop in Victoria, British Columbia.