Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dinner with cuzins @ Santana Row

Get together with my cuzins at The Counter in Santana Row.  It was great catching up. Too bad we only got to spend a couple of hours with them in February.  

Here's a bit of trivia.  In the photo above, who's the only person without at least 1/4th Asian descent?  Here's a clue.  It's not nearly as obvious as you might think.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Portland, ME

Allie and had a nice weekend in Portland, ME in Sept.  Beautiful town with friendly people, fresh seafood and nice weather.















Monday, March 19, 2012

Where'd that T-Rex come from?

Allie and I posing with a Tyrannosaurus Rex

Here's a funny photo that Allie and I took at a tourist trap somewhere just off the freeway in Arizona or New Mexico while on our cross-country road trip just after Thanksgiving last year.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My beautiful afternoon and New England quirks

The fact that today's afternoon was beautiful has nothing to do with me. It's mine because I was able to enjoy it. I had dropped Tobzilla off at a pet hotel yesterday for reasons I'm not going into here. On my way to pick him up today, I stopped off at a bagel place for the first bagel I've had in Massachusetts this year. In a rather ironic twist, bagel shops aren't all that common in the MetroWest area. There around, but there's just no prolific quality chains, like Noah's Bagels in the West Coast (to the people that hate Noah's, they are still far better than many places, so I consider them quality by comparison). I'm sure there's a bunch of bagel places closer to the Boston area, but I'm not driving an hour for bagels. Anyway, the place I went to was OK. Service was slow and understaffed for a Saturday. The bagel was fine.

I picked up Tobzilla from the pet hotel and then drove to a farm ice cream "parlor". I'm not sure why it's called a "parlor" since you don't actually get to go inside. I think I mentioned this in a previous post. I had a small ice cream in a waffle cone. You got to watch out at the farm ice cream places. Smalls are typically still quite big. Tobzilla was a bit impatient with me as it took me forever to eat my delicious ice cream cone.

The farm ice cream shops opened earlier in the season this year since Winter weather ended a bit early. One surprize in New England is that the Diary Queens typically close during Winter too. I've never seen Diary Queens do that before. It was quite disappointing in November to be forced to get soft serve at a McDonalds. As an alternative to Diary Queen, I do miss Foster Freeze, which is a smaller California chain of soft serve ice cream parlors (you actually get to go inside at these places). Oh, one more comment about the farm ice cream shop; they do serve soft serve, but I had "hard serve" today.

After coming home, I relaxed on our balcony in the sunny and warm afternoon. Tobzilla doesn't get to go on the balcony often, so he was sniffing around quite a bit, and investigating how far he was above the ground. When I went back inside, he followed quickly.

Both of us then sleep for the rest of the afternoon with the Sun peaking through the blinds of the bedroom. I think I'm well rested now. I might actually not fall asleep during SNL tonight.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Alaska Cruise Day 7: Not Alaska (B.C.)

Day 7 of our Alaska cruise was highlighted by a visit to Victoria, British Columbia. Many people don't realize that the name Columbia was used by our North and South American forefathers to name a bit of land that they really didn't have a name for. Columbia is the "poetic" name for the Americas. There's also Washington, District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) and the actual country of Columbia.

Victoria is a very nice city with many interesting buildings, good food and they freely take U.S. dollars (1:1 with the Canadian dollar these days).





My In-laws liked it a lot. We had a relaxing time, just walking around without too much of a schedule to worry about. We had a great dinner at a local steakhouse. There was this Celtic themed store with some of the highest quality clothes I've seen (and the prices to match). I even have a video around somewhere of Darth Vader playing the violin (street performer).

The vibe in Victoria is definately different than Vancouver, B.C.

One of the reasons we chose to take a cruise with Norwegian is that the cruise starts and finishes in Seattle, WA (within the borders of USA). Many cruises start in Seattle, but then end in Victoria. That means we'd have to take an international flight home; a painful experience which I am always more than happy to avoid.

So, even though Norwegian wasn't everything we expected it to be, it was everything it needed to be. I guess that's not a great endorsement, huh.

Overall, the trip was enjoyable. Some pluses (many of which cost more $$$) and some minuses (many of which were part of the cruise package for no additional $$$). We did our trip to Alaska. We did our first cruise (and prolly last, at least for a long while). We took my In-laws on a big vacation and had a lot of quality time with them. And, I got to see my best friend and his family before and after the cruise.

Please see the full Alaska Cruise article list.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Alaska Cruise Day 6: Ziplining

Day 6 of my family's Alaska cruise was marked by a visit to Ketchikan. Suprizingly enough, we didn't spend much time in Ketchikan itself. Our excursion took up almost all of the time.

I did the ziplining canopy tour in the rainforest. By an amazing coincidence, Allie took her parents on a nature walk excursion that was run by the same operation on the rain forest floor. So, while I was zipping around overhead, they were walking on a guided tour below. Allie said she kept an eye out for me, but we weren't in the same part of the forest at the same time.



They got to see a bald eagle, owl, bear markings on a tree, a canoe being made (in progress, not from start to finish), and other natural or native items.


I was zipping around the canopy with a group of people, most of which have never ziplined before. It was a lot of fun. I haven't developed the photos from this adventure on my disposal camera yet. Hopefully the film is still good after all this time (2 years). I do have this shot taken by an automatic "ride" camera.


Note the gratuitous fist pump. :)

The excursion took up so much time in the trip to a from the dock and on the adventure itself, we didn't get a chance to check out anything in the town of Ketchikan itself.

Please see the full Alaska Cruise article list.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Alaska Cruise Day 5: Glacier Bay!

The cruise ship itinerary listed this day as a Sea Day. A Sea Day is when the ship doesn't dock at any port. The other Sea Days on this cruise were only of the ship moving fast through the ocean to get to one of the ports. However, this Sea Day is different.

We made the journey up the Glacier Bay to visit the impressive Johns Hopkins Glacier. Along the way, we saw dolphins, whales, cliff dwelling goats, and eagles, all from our cabin patio.



Before arriving, everyone was asked to keep as quiet as possible, so as to not disturb the glacier. Once at the glacier, the port side of the ship was first to view it. Of course everyone was on deck, watching and waiting for the slightest signs of calving.



The moment reminded me of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in the book Restaurant at the End of the Universe. In that book, there's a restaraunt at the literal end of the Universe. People from all over the Universe would go to this restaraunt at the end of time to watch the last bit of the Universe fade into nothing. It felt kind of like that on the cruise ship. People from all over the World go on this cruise to the end of Glacier Bay to watch one of the World's remaining glaciers slowly melt away. I actually was hoping for global warming to work just a little faster so I could see more dramatic scenes of ice breaking off and crashing into the water.



There was a solo seal swimming around in the cold bay water at the root of the glacier. I assume the little guy was busy hunting for food amongst the chunks of ice floating in the water.

The ship then slowly and quietly rotated around so that the starboard side also got a view. Allie's parents relaxed on their patio at this time, along with me and Allie in our own patio next door.



Once we left the glacier, the cruise ship went on a tour around other portions of Glacier Bay. At one point, off in the distance, I saw one glacier with a massive calving of ice crashing into the bay!

The ship later headed south. Allie and I relaxed in the spa at the front of the ship. Several of the reclined chairs faced foward so we could kick back and watch the ocean pass by. We saw more dolphins and some sort of fish that was jumping out of the water.

Seeing Glacier Bay was my main purpose for this trip. Cruise ships are really the only way to see this amazing place for the average person (unless you happen to have your own boat and know how to navigate the World's seas).

Please see the full Alaska Cruise article list.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Alaska Cruise Day 4: Skagway and the Safari

This article is long over due. Allie, her mother and father, and I went on an Alaskan Cruise in 2010. The cruise was fun and enjoyable. Day 4 was a visit to Skagway, Alaska.


View Larger Map


Swagway is a small town near the end of the Chikook Inlet. I think (don't quote me on this) that this was one of the Alaskan Gold Rush towns.


On this stop, Allie and I went on an excursion. It was called a safari, though I think any trek in Alaska might be considered the antithesis of "safari". Either way, it was an adventure. We were a part of a larger party that rode a ferry from Skagway to an outcropping of land about an hour's ride south. From there, we took a bus up to the camp in the rain forest. We geared up with rain gear and went for a hike through the forest. Finally, we arrived at a river where some canoes were ready. After rowing up river in the canoes, we reached the foot of a glacier. The glacier was very jagged. Most of the facing surfaces were pristine white, though part of one side had mixed with a recent avalanche for a granite-like appearance. The glacier made the cold day even cooler at its base. As we canoed around the melt pool, we noticed plenty of birds and fish.

Our safari guides had one thing on their mind. They didn't likely get paid much for spending their spring and summer at this outcropping of land between the bay and the glaciated mountains. To pass the time, they enjoy a local beverage. I forget the name, but it's a beer made from spruce tips. To augment their income, they collected spruce tips from the surrounding forest. When they return to town, they trade their spruce tips for the beer that is made from the spruce tips. The guides talked about this beer quite frequently.

When we turned to Skagway, Allie and I set out to find the bar that served this beer. It is at the end of the street directly down from where the cruise ship was docked. If you get a chance to go to Skagway, make sure you try to find this bar and have the spruce tip beer. It's not the best beer you'll ever have, but it is pretty darn good, and a great way to experience Skagway that most other people will easily miss.

Please see the full Alaska Cruise article list.