Bear, Bear

Want to see a cute puppy?  Well, you’re in luck.  Here is the newest addition to the clan, our new little grandpuppy.  I wanted to post a few pictures of him before he turns into a monster grandpuppy.  His name is Bear, no explanation necessary.  Here he is at 6 weeks:

Misc 011 (Small)


With his mommy:

Misc 021 (Small)


Now, here he is at 12 weeks looking so much more mature:

Misc 073 (Small)

… but looks don’t tell the story!

Again, with his mommy:

Misc 076 (Small)


I’ll do an update next time I see him, which should be around Thanksgiving. 

Sara and Bear spent a weekend with us recently.  It was a workout for Sara (puppy training, you know), and a workout for Zoe & Fritz, too.  They were not sure what to think of this little guy and, of course, tried to show him just who was in charge.  Well, they’d better enjoy that large and in charge feeling while they can, as he will outweigh both of them (combined) in a matter of months.  He’s a pretty tough little guy! 

Isn’t he a sweetie?


Alaska, Part Five (the Final Frontier, Juknow what I mean?)

Nothing makes you quiver more than rafting raging rivers in the mo-o-o-o-or-orning …

Nothing could be bolder than to crash into a boulder in the mo-o-o-o-or-0rning …

… and I do mean we woke up early that morning to raft the waters near Mendenhall Glacier.  But if you are looking for blood and gore, you will not find it here.  For we, the most excellent rafters in all of Juknow, did not crash into a boulder.  Not even close.  I’m telling you, it was dicey-going, but somehow we made it, we survived, we conquered the raging river.  Just look at our frightened expressions an instant before navigating the worst rapids ever …

 20090709_001 (Small)

Actually, G’pa Jack does look a little worried.  … and check out that forehead in the front!  That’s my husband, aiming the camera backwards and selflessly taking pictures of the rest of us in what could have been our last moments.  Only I think he just missed, so maybe not such a selfless act after all.  I wonder if he’s smiling?  Guess we’ll never know, but he did get a terrific picture of the woman in the middle!  Whoever she is.  I don’t remember her name, but she is one-half of the couple who was brave enough to board this inflated vessel with the Neals.  Doesn’t she look terrified?  She’s thinking, OMG, who ARE these people?  Or maybe she is just afraid of the upcoming rapids …

20090709_024 (Small)

Ok, not so rapid.  How about this?

20090709_015 (Small)

This …

20090709_011 (Small)

Or this?

20090709_013 (Small)

Whew!  By rowing our oars to and fro, fro and to, and sometimes even in unison, we were able to escape certain death and destruction.  That, and we had a most excellent guide.  In fact, on occasion he told us to PLEASE JUST STOP IT in as nice a yelling voice as possible, while skillfully steering us through the rough stuff.   Oh, and did I say he was cute?  No, but he was, and I think Sara would agree. 

20090709_002 (Small)


What?  Did we lose somebody on that last one?  … what’s so funny?  We’re a bunch of sick-os.

20090709_003 (Small)


Here’s another picture of most of us, the terrified lady’s husband on the far left, the terrified lady behind Jake, our most cute and excellent guide in the back, and the rest all Neals.  Selfless Johnny, again not pictured.  Someone has to take the pictures, juknow?  Think he was taking them straight on this time, but I do miss the nice forehead …  While I usually don’t post pictures of persons I can’t warn ahead of time, I’m certain the non-family members in these pictures would not mind being featured in my blog as the Terrified Lady, the Terrified Lady’s Husband, and Our Most Cute and Excellent Guide.

20090709_009 (Small)


Speaking of Juknow … after the excursion we went into the real town of Juneau, capital of Alaska and, at the time, part-time home of then-Governor Palin.  She had resigned her office the week before (not effective until a little later).  We saw the Governor’s mansion in a blur as we whizzed by in a van, too fast to snap a picture.  It was white, had a green roof, and sat on a hill.  I’m sure it was lovely, but just because you work in a lovely place, doesn’t translate into love for the job … juknow?  Or maybe she just had issues.  Ahem.

Here we are in Juneau.  For the record, since I’ve yet to officially introduce Chuck & Kelly in this Alaska series, below from left to right are:  Alex, Daniel, Johnny, Jake, me, Sara, Kelly & Chuck.  Chuck is Johnny’s brother, Kelly is Chuck’s wife, and they are Jake’s mom & dad.  Johnny’s parents aren’t pictured here, but just look above and below and you will find them.  

20090709_026 (Small)

Here I am standing with Sara, Alex & Daniel in front of a landmark establishment in Juneau, the Red Dog Saloon.  Billed as the oldest man-made tourist attraction in Alaska, it opened to customers in the mining era (late 1800’s).  In the beginning, it was a real saloon, complete with ragtime music and dancing.  The story goes that a little later on, “Gordie Kanouse (presumably the proprietor) would meet tour boats with his mule and wore a sign saying ‘follow my ass to the Red Dog Saloon.'”  Quote taken from www.reddogsaloon.comApparently, people are still following his ass to the Red Dog Saloon, because there was a lengthy waiting list to get in when we stopped by.  Since our time in Juneau was short, we just took a picture outside.  My parents stood in front of this same place a number of years ago when they were on a similar cruise, so I wanted to at least get a picture! 

20090709_030 (Small)

We celebrated another  important day while in Juneau, my daughter’s 20th birthday.  Twenty (that’s 20), yes, twenty years old.  That’s just crazy.  Of course, I was only 12 when I had her …

Remember the Terrifieds, our rafting friends?  We ran into them again in Juneau, and they told us of an awesome little crab place.  I mean little place … big crabs.  Sara decided that sounded like the perfect birthday lunch.  So, after getting directions from the Terrifieds, we set off in search of the little place with big crabs.  We found it …

20090709_039 (Small)

20090709_037 (Small)

We ordered a mess o’ crabs (like flock o’ geese, or school o’ fish, but tastier).  We had to wait a little while because this was a popular place.  We soon discovered why!

20090709_032 (Small)

Here’s my birthday baby sampling a little chowder and a biscuit while waiting for our order.

20090709_033 (Small)

How about those crab legs?  Oh my God, they were good!  The five of us had a huge crab leg each and some biscuits.  We worked up a terrific sweat breaking and cracking, but it was so worth it!   Great choice Sara Beara!

20090709_035 (Small)

All good things must come to an end, and so did our crab feast, for our bellies could hold no more.  Besides, we had to hurry back to the ship … didn’t want to miss dinner, juknow?

Here’s a helpful sign that kept us from getting lost …

20090709_038 (Small)














Meanwhile, back on the ship, more birthday celebratory fun.  It happened to be a formal night for dinner, so we were dressed in our finest.  Our waiters sang the birthday song to Miss Sara …

20090709_050 (Small)

Appy bir-day to ju … Appy bir-day to ju … Appy bir-day to ju-u-u-u-u … Appy bir-day to ju!!!!!  … and variations thereof.

Later, back in the room, here’s a present or two for our sweet baby girl.

20090709_058 (Small)

… and a little goofiness with the towel sculpture left by our room attendant that night:

20090709_052 (Small)














The next couple of days were sailing days (no stops), and while I didn’t mention all the goings-on on the ship during the week, trust me, plenty was going on.  Wonderful food, fabulous shows, games to play, drinks to drink, and generally, plenty to do.  We ate every 3 hours around the clock almost, saw most of the nightly shows, and the kids ran all over the ship.  I even got in the habit of having afternoon “tea” in the Windjammer, which hosts the biggest buffet you’ve ever seen, and hosts it all … day … long.  So, me, hot tea with a little honey, and a little one-on-one with a book.  It was nice!

The ship had a miniature golf course (the kids played, but unfortunately, Johnny and I didn’t discover this until the end of the trip).  Check out the beautiful Vancouver skyline, and my handsome hunk o’ burnin’ love! 

20090711_002 (Small)

I did not take pictures of the bikini-clad crazies, but it was a source of wonderment.  I mean, who wears bikinis in the land of the igloos, now really?  That’s just wrong!  Besides, I would have felt a little creepy snapping pictures of people I don’t know wearing bikinis. 

Here are a few shots of the “centrum” of the ship:

20090711_007 (Small)

20090711_009 (Small)

20090711_011 (Small)

In closing, I just want to say that it was a fabulous trip, and thank Jack & Nancy for including all of us in their awesome celebration of their 50th anniversary.   I posted the pictures below earlier, but here they are again because it seems a fitting way to end the series:

20090706_056 (Small)

Happy 50th anniversary, Jack & Nancy!  

20090706_055 (Small)

Maybe Captain and Tenille said it best …

Love, love will keep us together …