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In which Steph sees the Old West and meets some new people )

Coming next installment: [livejournal.com profile] palingyuan lovingly describes the levels of pain each species of cactus can inflict.
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In which Steph travels to Tucson, Arizona )

Coming next installment: [livejournal.com profile] demongrey and the Border Patrol.
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It's been a month since I came back. I never intended for the travelogue to take so long, but as usual events beyond my control interfered and left me off-balanced enough that I couldn't catch up.

I miss Alaska. I love water and mountains, and it was incredible to get them both so close together. I told Jeff at the time that it was one of the few places he could get me to go rural. I could picture myself learning to pilot a little seaplane and flying around.

I really enjoyed escaping from everything I left behind. True, I doubled up on my stress before I left to get it all handled, but then I let go. I didn't worry about my office, I didn't worry about my finances, I just lived day-to-day. That's what everyone told me would happen, of course, but it was quite a change for me.

There are a number of things I wish I'd done differently, knowing now that it was my last Clarke Family Vacation and knowing it was the end of my relationship with Jeff. Still, there are always things that we wish we'd done differently, and things we wish we'd said. At least my regrets are small.
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The short version: Flew home, back to night and heat.

The long version )
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The short version: Train, bagpipes, Eskimo art, fried chicken, and a little pink bed. Lots and lots of sun.

The long version )
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The short version: Lazy ship day, more scenery, packing and tipping

The long version )
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The short version: Two breakfasts, lunch, a whole lot of ice, dirty water, dinner, a movie, and the Grand Buffet. That makes me sound like a hobbit, especially if I mention the afternoon snack I left out of the long version...

The long version )
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The short version: Tenders to the dock. Shopped, saw a glacier, watched whales on my feet. Room service.

The long version )
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The short version: Rode a train and a bus. Lots of scenery. Ate salmon, panned for gold. Watched a movie.

The long version )
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The short version: Saw lumberjacks, totem poles, eagles, baby fish. Went to casino.

The long version )
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The short version: a couple of lectures, pretty scenery, formal dinner, and a show.

The long version )
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Short version: traveled a lot, filled out paperwork, ate dinner, toured ship.

The long version )
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Did you know you can update LJ in the middle of the ocean, on a boat, in a formal dress, after dinner, before the movie (Two Towers) and Le Grand Buffet?

To be continued...
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Time to go home and pack! Argh!
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41 hours depending on when you count from. I'm counting from 7 AM Friday, which is when the airplane is supposed to take off. Hours seems like a good way to keep track - when I'm looking forward to it, they go faster and count down quickly. When I'm stressed out, there's a bigger number.

And [livejournal.com profile] oidhche is my hero, because he is going to pick us up at 4:30 AM to take us to Newark Airport. I am going to owe him for the rest of my life.

I have so lost interest in work. Not concentrating at all, really. Maybe I'll go downstairs and take inventory.
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Two weeks till vacation. Thank God. My goal for next week is to manage to leave work at least one day without having wanted to cry at any point during the day.

Meanwhile, I now have Jeff's passport and Jeff's Dramamine, so all the most important things for the trip are taken care of. (Tickets? Bah! Who needs those?)

The passport arrived yesterday at my office by FedEx. Everyone wanted to see it, of course. Now, passport photos, like driver's license photos, are always abysmal. This is intentional, since any time you need to show it you're not going to be at your best. Since a couple of my co-workers haven't met Jeff, I decided to make it look better by showing them the old one first. The old one was from when he was 16. (He's now 22.) And he was cute enough for a 16-year-old, of course, but he SO does not look like the same person.

The Dramamine doesn't sound that complicated, but it necessitated a call to Julie (Jeff's mother) while in the grocery store. Did you know Dramamine comes in little tubes? I didn't. Anyway, we now have enough 12-hour non-drowsy Dramamine to drug Jeff for the entire cruise, plus enough of the regular 4-hour drowsy stuff for the plane trips and the off chance I actually end up needing some.

And, while there are not in fact tickets, we did get the "cruise documents" from Godfrey in today's mail. They seem to consist mostly of a brochure for shore excursion and luggage tags, but I didn't really have time to read them in detail at lunchtime. And the confirmation and a brochure for our B&B in Anchorage the night after the cruise was also included. It looks cute. How does one stay at a B&B? It seems kind of weird.

We also finally got around to ordering a wedding present for Jeff's cousin - about time, since the wedding is a week from Sunday. She was registered for about 5 billion tablecloths. Well, 6 or 7, anyway. Isn't that something? I don't think I've seen any tablecloths on any of the registries I've looked at before. Then again, I wasn't paying attention to tablecloths before. But I do think I would have remembered if anyone had been registered for that many.
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Three weeks from now I will be on an airplane on my way West.

It still seemed like a long way off until this morning. Now it feels like it's right on top of me.

We finally got Jeff's passport renewal application out the other day, and FedEx confirmed it was signed for yesterday.

It occurred to me this morning that it would be a really good idea to burn MP3 CDs of my music collection before I leave, so that I don't have to take original CDs with me - and so I don't have to take so many! One more thing for the list. And only two weekends left to do everything.

Ginny's going nuts at work - she noticed how soon I'm going away, and how long, and she's freaking out about everything. I started weeks ago getting everything in order, and there really isn't that much that she'll need to worry about. And I'll only be gone a little more than a week.

Everybody keeps telling me how much fun I'm going to have, how beautiful it will be, all of this. I am so sick of worrying, preparing, planning... it had better be worth it.

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May 2011

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