Tag Archives: vacation

In summation…

Randomly, on another Tuesday:

  • I miss Melinda.  I’m talking to my little brother Michael again.  I’m talking to my sisters again.  I miss mama.  Loss is lonely, and each one exacerbates the others.
  • The flights down to Texas weren’t too bad.  Long, but not bad.
  • San Antonio was extremely warm the first several days, then cooled off to something tolerable for this Eskimo.
  • The kids had heaping tons of fun with Mimi, Popo, Aunt B, Uncle Schim, and cousins Matthew/Chewy, Nolan, and Colin.
  • They also had a great time with Uncle Lawrence, Aunt Susan, Brennan, and Uncle Ables.
  • Fun was also had at Chuck E Cheese’s with Uncle Alex, Aunt Kimberly, Adriana, Pops, Kyle, and Camden, Aunt Tasha, and cousins Morgan, Trent, and Natalie.
  • Miss Sally liked being chased by the kids, though she tried to pretend otherwise.  Lucky adored Milla.
  • Camilla is “kah-MEE-lah”.  We call her Milla (MEE-yah).  I’ve also written it as Mi’a.  She calls herself Illa/Iya/I’a (pronounced EE-yah).  Aunt B noted that it’s spelled/pronounced like tortilla.  I think this is going to stick with my poor girl forever now.
  • I got a tattoo by Jedidia Reid, owner of Element Tattoo Studio in San Antonio.  I LOVE it.
  • There will be a ton of photos uploaded in the coming weeks.
  • I hated the trip up to Chicago more than words can capture.
  • I loved being in Aurora/Chicago with Aunt Cara, Uncle Mike, and cousins Maddie, Ryan, and Tori.
  • The wind and humidity there make their winter just as cold and unforgiving as ours.
  • They have so much snow that I’m jealous.
  • I didn’t think I could be jealous of precipitation.  I am.
  • The trip back to Fairbanks was long, but nowhere near as bad as the one to O’Hare.
  • We picked up some kind of icky flu-ish/cold-ish bug that has us all feverish, with deep, racking coughs.
  • That hasn’t diminished the pleasure of being back home.
  • We all miss our friends, family, and travels.
  • We wish y’all were closer, and that we could see you more often.  Preferably through teleportation.
  • I’m trying to put the house back together, and will update with more details and pictures when I can.
  • And lastly:

  • Bubbles are awesome.  (recorded in summer 2010)

Random on a Tuesday

  • My youngest sister, Melinda, died at 25 on January 14, 2011.
  • We drove to Anchorage for a small memorial service for her, held on Friday, January 21, 2011.
  • It’s got me mourning my mother all over again.
  • The kids got to play with Grandpa, cousins Faith, Caleb, and Vicky, Aunts Jessie, Tasha, & Sandee, and Uncle Darrell.
  • We took family photos at my parents’ house, courtesy of Sandee Rice Photography.
  • Back at the hotel, we took the kids down to the swimming pool.  They had a blast.
  • The chlorine in the pool did crazy tightening things to the dreads forming at the back of my head.
  • Bouncing Bears is the coolest place to get kids worn out before a long road trip.
  • The living room floor is the greatest place to roll around after many long hours cooped up in car seats.
  • The wolf and the orca share the same animal spirit in Yup’ik lore.  These are the two animals I debated between in trying to identify the animal essence of my youngest child River.  JR is a polar bear.  Camilla is a lynx/mountain lion/fox.
  • I’ve spun 4 oz of a pinkish-purplish wool/alpaca batt by Bohoknitterchic Spins into 400+ yards of a fingering weight single.  Melinda loved pink.  I’m going to knit a shawl out of this yarn.
  • I’m knee-deep in laundry that needs to be done before we leave Thursday night on vacation.
  • I get a kitten after we get back.  It will go nicely with the litter box and cat food I got from John for Christmas.
  • I’m planning on getting tattooed in San Antonio and Chicago during the next couple of weeks.
  • I’ll be starting a Little Acorn Learning curriculum for JR and Camilla after our trip.  I’m excited.
  • I definitely need to get back to daily workouts.  They’ve fallen by the wayside with a marked increase in fibro pain.
  • I nearly forgot how comfortable Vans are until I bought a new pair the other day.
  • I am very clearly doing anything possible to avoid laundry and packing.
  • I have to start all that now, before Thursday gets here.


Second Trip to Anchorage

We headed down to Anchorage again over Memorial Day weekend to meet up with John’s parents. They came up to spend a few days in town before heading on to Whittier for their cruise to Vancouver. We had a great time, and the kids had a blast with MiMi and PoPo.

We took the kids into the pool one night at the hotel, and had absolutely fabulous fun. I didn’t bring my camera down there, but it was awesome. JR got to go go-kart riding and pony riding again. We also checked out the Saturday Market where I picked up some cool handmade birch trucks for JR and some pretty hippie duds for myself.

The Sunday before Memorial Day I went to mama’s grave site. It was heartbreaking and surreal but I’m glad I went.

Reading Sports Illustrated on the drive down

Reading Sports Illustrated on the drive down

MiMi and Camilla

MiMi and Camilla

Grandpa and JR

Grandpa and JR

John & JR riding go-karts

John & JR riding go-karts

PoPo, JR, and Grandpa at the pony rides

PoPo, JR, and Grandpa at the pony rides

Grandpa and Camilla

Grandpa and Camilla

My little cowboy!

My little cowboy!

I miss you, mama.

I miss you, mama.

Catching up

because I haven’t written in a bit.

The day we were flying back from Texas, I went into false labor. We had just gotten to my sister-in-law’s house, and I realized that my “stomach ache” was turning into something quite different. I had a gut-wrenching, can’t-stand-still-can’t-move-well-can’t-breathe-well contraction. Out of nowhere. Then, like 3 minutes later, I had another one. And then another one. We decided to bag it and go to the hospital seeing as how I was just 32 weeks along and could barely breathe through them. We left a confused JR with my in-laws, and drove off into the unknown parts of Ft. Worth to find a hospital. After getting sort of lost downtown, and me having 9 or 10 super strong contractions in an hour’s time, we got to the hospital’s ER entrance. Everything stopped. Not another contraction.

I talked to the on-call OB who stands in for my OB when he’s out of town, explaining that we had a plane to catch and that it’d been over half an hour without any activity. I signed a form to get out of being seen at the hospital, and we headed back to my in-laws’ house. We loaded everything up, said our goodbyes, got to the airport, dropped off the rental, then were given the runaround by TSA agents who were clueless about where the Alaska Airlines ticket counter was located. After walking like 1/2 a mile through and around the airport just to be sent back, it turned out to be right next to where the damn agents were standing when we asked. We checked in, checked our bags, got some Taco Hell, and made it to the gate just in time to board the plane. Whew!

The flight was fairly uneventful, and we switched planes without a hitch in Seattle. It seemed like it took forever to get to Fairbanks, and we were so ready to be off the plane when we finally landed. Holy crap was it cold though! It was -43*F when we landed. That was heartbreaking, given that it was 88*F when we left Texas. My nose started bleeding as soon as we hit the baggage claim area, it was so dry.

John left to get the truck from the parking garage downtown, we stopped at Safeway for groceries, then drove 100 miles to get home. Oh, the relief to finally be home!

John had to leave insanely early the next morning for work. JR and I were still sick (and still are) so we took it easy the first day. I had (and still have) so much cleaning to do though as we trashed the house in our extreme hurry to get ready to leave in the first place.

Thursday I woke up super early and went on a mini-cleaning spree. I scrubbed the downstairs bathroom, cleaned the living room, did the dishes, the laundry, the diapers, swept and mopped the kitchen, and decluttered the countertops, all before noon. I managed to get dinner in the crockpot (which was super yummy: beef short ribs, slow cooked in barbecue sauce) and had it ready to be served when John walked in the door that night. So tender it was falling off the fork!

Friday I was up early again (gotta love pregnancy insomnia), and had showered, eaten, made and drank coffee, checked all my usual websites, and straightened up the kitchen before anyone else even woke up. We went to town that day for our usual shopping trip. I went to Joann’s and got some cool new knitting supplies (thank you Bec) as well as a baby elephant and hippo for JR that he adores (they’re Schleich, and I love them). We ate at Chili’s because I was craving buffalo wings like nobody’s business, which was so not worth the final ticket price we paid for dinner. Doubt we’ll go back (John had a ribeye, I had shrimp & chicken). I discovered later that night taht I must be allergic to shrimp.  Nice.

Then we picked up a doggie coat & booties for our wussy indoor dog — and before you make any snide comments, those things are totally necessary for creatures in -40* and colder weather. We went in search of a new winter coat for JR too, though kept coming up short. FYI, Big Ray’s had a sign saying they were open until 8 (it was 7:15) and they turned us away. Frontier Outfitters is entirely too floofy, too. Sears was dead, and we speculate that they’ll be going under soon. Then it was off to WalMart for some random crap, then Freddie’s for groceries, then finally back home.

Saturday I was going to try to get together with M (who is this sweet woman that we’re trying to get to watch JR when I go into labor), but I started feeling even sicker and decided to nap with JR. John went back into town to pick up my meds and a handful of other things we’d forgotten (as he’s working this coming weekend and so won’t be home until next Thursday night).

Yesterday was a mellow day, thankfully.  John cleaned up our files downstairs, JR played, and I worked on a fun new knitting project (the Noro Striped Scarf).

Today, John headed back to work.  JR and I have just been hanging out for the most part.  I’ve scheduled John’s sinus surgery/pre-op/cat-scan, and also renewed my belief that Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center majorly sucks.  We got our home heating fuel delivery, and we’re now settled in with some simple snacks to watch the Fiesta Bowl (Hook ‘Em Horns!).


We’re at Holiday Inn Express in Fort Worth. We’ve ordered takeout from Boston’s next door. The dog is hanging at Cara and Mike’s for the night. We’re going back in the morning to pick her up, say our goodbyes to the W’s, then it’s off to the airport for our million-and-one hour adventure back to Alaska. Once we land, we’ll be in -30*F weather in Fairbanks. We’ll have to stop at the grocery store, then drive 100 miles home. John has to go back to work Monday morning. I feel really bad that he’s not going to get a chance to get real sleep until Monday night.

Thirty degrees below zero, Fahrenheit. It might even be colder than that, what with wind chill and all. It was a balmy 80 degrees today. Buffle was basking in the sun in the M’s backyard. Poor furball is in for a shock when she gets home. We are too. I’ve been loving staying in tank tops and flip flops in December, though it’s been really strange spending Christmas without snow and without my mother.

To be honest, it truly hasn’t felt like Christmas at all. I think it may have been easier on me to be down here for the holiday. Mama was always such a big part of Christmas, it feels wrong not to have her here.

It’s been a great trip. It’s gone by really quickly; for having spent 2-1/2 weeks here, I’m not sure where all our time went. I know we spent a lot of damn time just driving.

Every last available bit of room in our luggage is taken up by stuff. I’m sure that I’m forgetting to get something for someone, but I’m sorry: I’ve run out of room. Stupid airline baggage weight restrictions.

Oh well. Time to eat and chill and hopefully sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a long long looooooong day.

And we’re off.

Sort of. Almost. Not quite yet.
I’m all packed. Each suitcase is at 50 lbs. We haven’t weighed the duffle, but whatever it’s at is what it’s leaving at because nothing will fit anywhere else.

John left with John the Elder and JR to go to the airport and mail back some of the stuff that just wouldn’t fit. Like the statuette. And the Bevo that we won at Dave and Buster’s Christmas night (by the way, having dinner alone and playing games was awesome).

Yesterday we had exchanged a gift, done some shopping at Babies R Us, got a new prescription for me and my new amoxicillin allergy, ate at Dos Julios (formerly Old San Antonio Cafe, and better under old management), stopped at the S’s to say goodbye, came back to the house, and all passed out. JR’s cold is worse, or sounding worse at least. It’s settled into his chest. Started packing last night, and finished today.

We’ll be driving out of SA later on, headed toward Dallas/Fort Worth. I had wanted to stop at Ikea for some beautiful fabric, but probably will not do so as we have no way to get it back. Bummer. Maybe I can talk someone else into going for me. (Jenn?)

I think we’ve managed to get everything. My head hurts just thinking about 16 hours to get back home.


…on Tuesday I felt like a superstar, so I asked John to take me to a clinic.  We got to a walk-in clinic at 2, and he dropped me off so he could go to the bank.  I went in, and they told me they were refusing my insurance, yet I could be seen as a cash patient for a ridiculous sum of money.  I politely told them to screw themselves.  At 3:30, John finally got back.  410 was backed up.  Traffic is that much fun in SA.  We drove to one Gonzaba Med Center, and they told us to go to their walk-in/urgent clinic, right by where we just were.  I waited for a bit over an hour there, but once I was brought back and actually seen by a physician — bam!  Yep, you’ve got a full-blown sinus infection, here’s a prescription, bye-bye.  So awesome (and I got to eat too, which this prego likes).

After going back to the house to retrieve my boy, whom I missed greatly by this point, we stopped at HEB to get my meds, then went across town to drop gifts off to my niece’s kids.  The kids were all fine, and she and I managed to keep it civil for fifteen or twenty minutes.  I don’t know if I could have done much longer than that.

Then we headed out to find a Babies R Us.  There was supposed to be one on Rector St., but we didn’t see it.  We went to the one by Ingram Mall, and I got to go in for like ten or fifteen minutes before they gave the closing bell-get-the-f-out announcement on the PA system.  A quick stop for stuff at HEB, then back to the house.

Yesterday, Christmas Eve, we ate at Jim’s then headed back to the mall to do our shopping for each other.  Yes, we both waited until the last possible moment.  We’re awesome like that.  We’re going to do that every year from now on, it was so much fun.  Seriously, Ingram was insane, yet we were able to get a parking spot fairly quickly.  I didn’t see anything I truly wanted to get him there, and he picked up something for me, but I did find a kick ass pair of jeans that make even my seven-months-pregnant-huge-ass look good so they were worth buying.  Then over to a couple of other stores, and then back to the house where the rest of the family was waiting for us.

We dined quickly, then got to the gift-opening.  Opening gifts with 7 small children and 8 adults can be quite entertaining.  It was great, the stuff we got and gave was all awesome, and everyone had fun.

Late last night we drove around looking at lights.  In Windsor, they have a lighting competition that is just insane — we saw things that must have been visible from outer space, and one house whose lights were synchronized to a low-power radio station they set up playing Christmas music.  Absolutely nuts, but very cool to see.  JR said “wow! wook at dat!” which made it all worth it.

Today, I’m not sure what we’re up to, but Merry Christmas.

Vacay Stuff

We didn’t do a movie with the S’s yesterday, as it was approaching JR’s naptime and he gets hella cranky.  It was mostly a quiet day; we had lunch with MiMi and PoPo at Lisa’s, did some random shopping, and got to spend some time alone last night.  MiMi and PoPo watched JR for us while we went to Retama Park to bet on some pretty horses.  Don’t worry, we didn’t win a thing.  JR was a bit overexcited to see us when we got back, and as a result stayed up until after 2 am with us.  I also noticed last night that — drum roll please — he has a new tooth!!!  A new molar has finally popped up on his upper right jaw!

Today, we went to an estate sale with PoPo, and picked up a couple of neat items.  I got this pretty silvery stone-covered clutch, JR got some books, and John picked up a statuette by a W.Gregory.  After that, we went to Half Price Books (awesome used bookstore that I wish we had in Alaska).  JR had an impossible time getting down for his nap when we got back.  John and John picked up some dinner for me while I listened to JR scream into his pillow instead of napping.  We hung out here, watched Ice Age for the fifty-millionth time, John set up MiMi’s new computer, then John and I went to Target while JR stayed with PoPo (and MiMi, though I hope MiMi was able to rest since we gave her our cold).

I talked briefly to my brother tonight; any hot available senoritas are welcome to his email address since I can’t bring them back in my suitcase.  Just so you know.  And if you’re a hot available senorita that wants my brother’s email address, just let me know.

Sunday we’re having lunch with the S’s and the A’s in Austin; can’t wait to see you guys!


We ate a late breakfast at IHOP, and PoPo came with us.  JR spent the majority of the meal under the table.  It seems to be his new place to hang out.  I’m certainly not crawling under there with him.  Afterward, we all napped, hard.  Quite nice.

We had dinner at Becca’s — she put on a wonderful spread of chicken enchiladas & rice.  JR had a great time with the boys, and John had a blast playing Wii with them all.

There were a couple of bad-looking accidents on the way out of Helotes.  And holy skunks!  Talk about nasty smells!  I’m so grateful we don’t have to worry about those on our Alaskan highways.  We picked up some stuff at WalMart and HEB, then came back to pass out.

John got MiMi her gift today, and is in the back room assembling it now.  We might do a movie with the S’s later on.

So far in our travels…

We left Delta Thursday afternoon.  I had been sick for a day and a half with some uber-fun gastrointestinal bug, rendering me useless and miserable beyond belief.  We got all our stuff packed on time though, without forgetting anything major.  We did manage to forget the Christmas cards.  I was so proud that I had gotten them all done, addressed, signed, ready to go, and on time… then I left them on the kitchen counter before walking out the door.  Oh well.

We picked up a couple of last minute things at WalMart in Fairbanks, ate dinner at Gallo’s, then headed to the airport after dropping the truck off at the parking garage downtown.  We got the dog situated with TSA, I had a brief glare-down with the security assholes about JR’s baby food, and fairly soon we were on the plane.  JR was awesome on the first leg of the trip — he was so fascinated being on a plane and seeing all the other planes go by.  It was a great distraction for me to watch his excitement (I’m terrified of flying).  Anchorage to Seattle was another story; he was soooo tired, and couldn’t figure out how to comfortably fall asleep in his carseat while on the plane, and poor little guy was crying during takeoff and landing because of the pressure in his ears.  It broke my heart.  We had a three-hour layover in Seattle where we grabbed a bite to eat, then fell asleep in front of the gate.  We nearly missed the guy announcing our flight, and all three of us were passed out on the way to Dallas.

Family friend Evelyn met us at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport.  Buffle was absolutely exhilerated to see us and get out of her kennel.  John took JR with him to the car rental place, and Evelyn stayed with me at the airport.  We got a bite to eat at this shady McDonald’s on the way to Cara’s house; it made me feel queasy, and gave John a great case of the same gastrointestinal fun that I’d had (which rendered him useless for the next 36 hours or so).

We settled in at Cara’s, JR hung out with the kids, we chatted it up, and eventually passed out.  Saturday John slept all day, and JR wasn’t feeling too hot himself (ear tugging, crying, low-grade fever) so we didn’t go anywhere or do anything.  I had craft time with Maddie and Ryan, making a countdown to Christmas.  They really seemed to enjoy it, and Cara and Mike seemed to enjoy that I made it last a couple of hours.  Sunday, which was also Tori’s birthday, we went to the Ft. Worth Zoo and had an absolute blast.  JR still wasn’t feeling so hot and kept laying down on the ground so we put him in the Ergo on John’s back.  We saw a rhino, and JR insisted it was a dinosaur.  He loved the tigers, the elephants, and the carousel (which I rode on with him).  Total protest when the carousel ride was over.  Rosa’s takeout for dinner, some shopping at Target, then back to Cara’s to pack up our stuff.  JR drew a couple of pictures for Uncle Mike, one of which he said was Uncle Mike himself (totally cute of him, and they’re now on Mike’s wall).

Monday we got ready for our road trip down to SA.  JR had fully picked up a cold, and we had spread our gastrointestinal bug to the Ws.  The cold front had fully arrived, making it windy as hell and mightily cold.  Texas humidity and 30* weather with a 15 mph breeze make for bone-chilling conditions that even this Eskimo wasn’t too fond of.  I know it gets damn cold in Alaska, but it’s a dry cold, making it much more tolerable.

We drove down to SA in our humungous rented Hummer (sweet ride, by the way), stopping in Waco for lunch.  John let Buffle out in the parking lot behind Subway to let her run while I ate; he threw the ball before he noticed the six inches of standing, stagnant, putrid funk that Buffle of course immediately ran into.  She got back in the truck, furiously licking herself, then looking extremely guilty for it, because anything that nasty that tasted that good to my stupid dog must have been something she wasn’t allowed.  She kept hanging her head when I looked at her, which was mildly amusing, but mostly just stinky.

We stopped in Austin to get her bathed at a groomer’s next to Petco; when the groomer went to take her into the back, JR pitched an all-out fit, complete with little tears.  I think he thought we were just letting someone take our dog away, and she’s his closest companion in Alaska.  He was so inconsolably distraught that I almost told the groomer to forget it altogether.  We took him over to Petco though to look at animals, and soon things were a little better.  After Petco I went to Wheatsville.  I love that store so much.  The cashier was like two inches thick total, wearing a hat and scarf and coat indoors, complaining about the weather, wondering how on earth I manage to live in a place that inevitably hits -50* every winter, and called all manner of attention to both of us by proclaiming rather loudly that I said I was an Eskimo from Alaska.  John was right; people really look at me like I’m a leprechaun when I tell them I’m an Alaskan Eskimo.  Too freakin’ funny.

We got to his parents’ house in SA Monday night, caught up a little bit with Mona and John the elder, got unpacked, got something to eat, and finally got to sleep.  I had amassed about 6 hours of sleep over the last two days at Cara’s, and crashed so amazingly hard.  I woke up feeling like a new person, but one complete with new aches and pains.  John and JR slept like rocks too, though JR had a little more trouble as he kept waking up to cough or gasp.  His nose is still leaking like a bad faucet, but he has moments of utterly charming joy.

Mona made us eggs and bacon for breakfast (admittedly served at lunchtime since we didn’t wake up until after 11 am), and we hung out for a little while before heading out.  We checked out a few stores I wanted to see in town.  We went to Eden’s Baby to see if there were any good cloth diaper finds, and I was rather unimpressed with the selection.  She had some very fine items for sale, all generously marked up, and nothing of note that I couldn’t find elsewhere for a better deal.  Our local store, Blueberry Baby, in Fairbanks has so much of a better selection with better deals.  After Eden’s Baby, we ate lunch at Canyon Cafe in the Quarry (where I got this awesome white chocolate pecan tamale as a complimentary dessert) and checked out some stores there.  I went into Whole Earth Provision Co., where I walked out empty-handed; I literally could not justify a single purchase there because their markups were so ridiculous.  And that’s saying something because I can almost always justify a purchase.  I checked out Learning Express toy store, where I picked up a cute stuffed giraffe, a Schleich camel, and a great placemat for JR.  We also went to James Avery, where we got matching wedding bands.  They have so many beautiful shiny things that it’s hard to tear myself away from the store without going broke, but I always manage to show restraint.

Then it was a quick stop at Old Navy; I was looking for a hoodie because I wanted a warm layer, but wasn’t ready to bust out my Alaskan Carhartt jacket.  The place was so unbelievably picked over, there was like nothing left.  Then we were going to pick up some groceries at HEB, but JR’s nose sprung a leak and he had a little meltdown.  So we’ve been hanging out at MiMi & PoPo’s the rest of the night.  John left a while ago to play cards with Alex and get in the guy time I’m sure he’s been wanting.

I had an impossible time getting JR to sleep, though he’s finally down.  I’m getting his cold, which makes me extremely grumpy as I just finally got over my last one before coming down here.  Tomorrow I want to check out Babies R Us since we don’t have one in Alaska, as well as Sun Harvest, and possibly Ingram Mall.  We’re having dinner at Becca’s tomorrow night, and it’ll be a blast to watch JR with the S boys.  I’m tempted to hit up the LLL meeting Thursday morning.  Friday I think we’re getting together with the gang, though I don’t know for sure.  I think John mentioned Austin for Saturday, but I’m not sure about that either.  Sunday I believe we’re going back to Bec’s for Christmasy stuff with her in-laws.  Ultimately I’ve lost track of what our plans our now.

I’m off to find Sudafed for my newfound cold, then attempt some sleep.

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