Friday, July 31, 2015

Pacific Northwest Trip, Part Nine

The next day we headed towards Juneau, stopping first to spend several hours at Mendenhall Glacier. The weather was about the worst we had had -- a steady rain. Mindful of the illness that had run through the ship the previous week, I decided to spend all my Mendenhall Glacier time at the visitors' center. Joe was undaunted by the rain, and headed off to explore and even to walk on the glacier.

We both took pictures.
A less-than-terrific view of the glacier, photographed through the window at the visitors' center.

Another beautiful part of Mendenhall.

The visitors' center kept me occupied for quite some time. Who could resist this invitation?

200-year-old ice.

There was quite the emphasis on ecology and living responsibly; this area invited people to say what they were going to do differently after learning about climate change.

And then we were off to Juneau. A town somewhat bigger than we were used to in Alaska, Juneau had several streets thick with retail opportunities.

Joe was having some trouble with his camera in Juneau; we spent some time looking for a camera shop to seek advice. This didn't yield anything, so it was kind of up to me to be the photographer for a short time using my iPhone. Once we got back to the ship and a drier atmosphere, Joe's camera recovered, so we attributed the problem to all of the moisture at Mendenhall.

We were hungry and decided to give the Red Dog Saloon a try. I must confess that I absolutely loved it!

There was sawdust all over the floor, the place was packed,  and big game antlers and all manner of artifacts covered the walls.

The honky-tonk piano player was terrific; he had several different tip jars atop his piano. I chose to make a deposit into his Viagra Fund.

Our somewhat scantily-clad waitress was good-natured and efficient. She seemed to take a shine to Joe, who enjoyed a reindeer sausage sandwich while I partook of a rockfish sandwich. Both were just delicious!
When we finished lunch the rain had pretty well cleared, so we visited some of the shops, but didn't make any purchases. We'd been without internet for a few days and learned that the Juneau Public Library had computers that we could use without charge for thirty minutes each. So we caught up on our email and read the news. Soon it was time to go look for our bus.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Comment Amnesty Time!

My mailbox is bulging.

Re-entry from our Alaska trip was difficult. I was very sick for a week after we returned and then I was back to work and only somewhat sick.

There's been a few other things going on. And I'm trying to sew some each day to keep body and soul together.

All this by way of saying, "I need to empty my  mailbox. I had hoped I would respond to your comments, but I just can't do it right now."

I know you understand. Thank you.

Got a Few Things on my Mind

Some of this stuff has been building up. Some of it is recent. We haven't had a COW* post in some time so you may have thought I've mellowed. No, I've just been practicing restraint.

So here goes:

 Dentist vs. Lion. You know the names. You know the circumstances. Unless you've been on another planet this week. Well, of course the dentist shouldn't have shot that particular lion. IMNSHO, nobody should be shooting any lion at all (or any other wild animal) unless it is for food or population control, so I don't think the dentist should be shooting any lions at all. People are incensed. Some are calling for him to be tortured or killed. Uh, I don't think so. Paying a huge fine (apparently he has plenty of money) or perhaps having to do community service in some relevant way, yes; but he doesn't need to have his life threatened because he did a dumb thing.

Dentist vs. Public Outrage. I've been meaning to rant about these goofy shrines that appear on the side of the highway or on a front lawn, you know, the flowers and stuffed animals. But I haven't gotten around to it. While I don't get it -- these shrines, I mean -- in general, I do kind of like this impromptu that has begun to appear in front of the dentist's office!

I'm peeved at those who are twisting this thing around. One news source noted that the dentist made a contribution to the Romney campaign. What the hamfat (as my late mother was wont to say) does that have to do with anything? And others are posting outrage that people are grieving the lion when they should be campaigning against Planned Parenthood. Hello? And other details of the dentist's life, details that normally wouldn't be known by his neighbors much less the entire literate world, are coming to light, details that don't have anything to do with a great big error in judgment vis-a-vis hunting. Come on, people: Focus!

The Candidates. Let's just say that some of them appear to be somewhat saner than others. And some supporters seem to have lost their presence of mind. An otherwise normally very bright friend of mine is crazy about Christie. And while no one has admitted it to me personally, apparently there are a whole slew of people who actually think that a certain reality TV star -- that's right, I'm not going to mention his name here -- who bears more than a slight resemblance to a lhasa apso should be our next Commander-In-Chief. My personal belief right now is that the election is Hillary's to lose and that's unfortunate -- not because she's an unworthy candidate, but because I would love to return to the years when I actually had reasons to think hard about which candidate -- the Republican or the Democrat -- would make the better President.

Police Officers. And please don't say "cops." I just think that is disrespectful. Yes, there have been a number of truly unfortunate incidents. And on the surface, some of these seem to have a racial component. But there's developed a sort of baby-with-the-bathwater mentality, collectively labeling all police officers as power hungry, racist, and other unpleasant things.

In my work as a hospital chaplain, there is not a shift that goes by that I do not interact with a police officer or two. Or more. Patients that come into the hospital as Trauma cases are often accompanied by police officers. Who are without exception, professional, courteous, helpful, concerned, compassionate, clear-thinking men and women. From several different police departments. I cannot say enough good about my interactions with these officers. I'm well aware that there have been some bad apples in the news. But these are definitely the exceptions, not the norm.

Okay. I feel a little better now. I'll get back to Alaska in the next post. Seriously.

*Cranky Old Woman