Just returned from my amazing 7 day cruise to Alaska with Eric's family. It was my fourth cruise, so the whole cruise idea was not novel to me but an opportunity to take a great vacation (and cruises ALWAYS ARE!) with his 17 cousins and our dear aunt and uncle. There were a couple of his cousins that I had never met and it was a ton of fun to get acquainted with the new ones and reaquainted with the old ones.
We stopped in Juneau - interestingly enough, it was sunny and beautiful which is rare for Juneau. Apparently prior to our stop, Juneau had not seen the sun for over 30 days. About 10 of us found a great little place on the waterfront where we could have fish and chips and watch the sea planes come in and out. We enjoyed a little coffee shop and some wi-fi (the ONLY internet access we had on the entire trip) and just saw the cute little sights of Juneau. The next day was Skagway, a darling little (and I mean little) town that had a great sense of preserved history in many of the shops. Many places talked about the early days (which surprisingly enough involved something about a red light district) and how the town was run. We didn't take the 4 hour train ride through White Pass, but only because I knew that to pay $150 per person to get sleepy as the train gently rocked through the mountains was probably a poor choice.
We stopped in Victoria, Canada but it was a cold, wet, windy day and I decided to stay on board - I've been there before and spending a day just being cold on vacation didn't sound good to me. The boat lost about 2/3 of its passengers that day but had many activities to do so it was still fun to stay on board and do the ship activities.
Food. Let me tell you, once you get used to eating like that it is hard to return. Especially if you do all the cooking in the house. I LOVED being waited on, thoroughly enjoyed the 2 hour sit down dinners, the "order what you want" bar where they made the most amazing chorizo quesadillas and 5 cheese panini sandwiches, the massive buffet put on 3 times daily and the ever available dessert bar. Dessert everywhere! Tortes, cakes, tiramisu, creme brulee, panna cotta, flan, puddings, pies...and the 24 hour a day available soft serve ice cream machine. I probably miss the desserts the most. I was pretty sure I gained 10 of 20 lbs I lost before the trip, but in actuality I only put 3 lbs on. I won't lie...it is fun to be a complete hedonist when it comes to food.
Family is so special and we take them for granted. We always know that they will be there for us, pick us up when we are down, at the other end of a telephone line for a quick call. Always there. Yet, we are all on borrowed time. I talked to Eric's cousin Darvin who lives here in town (along with many other of the cousins who live close). Since the last "family reunion" in 2004, we have lost 4 family members. And we need to MAKE time to get together. A lunch, a Sunday picnic, anything! I think we were reminded of that during this trip. Don't waste time with one another while we all still have time.
Take a moment today to call a family member, say hello, have lunch, whatever. This is your reminder...we are not promised anything more than this moment we have. Make the most of it.
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