Monday, July 23, 2012


For some reason I still don't fully understand, I got 2 huge puzzles for Christmas last year. I mean, I like puzzles. Easy puzzles. 300-500 piece puzzles. Preferably 100 piece Looney Tunes puzzles. Puzzles I can work on socially. Methodically. For brief-ish periods of time. 

None of this adds up to a propensity to tackle a 4 x 2.7 foot puzzle...but that is what I got. So in January I started my preventative measures against early-onset Alzheimer's:
I was able to complete the top third -- buildings and sky -- (with help) before my family came out to visit at the end of January. They finished the crap out of that titan in one brief weekend. Puzzle wizards.
Riding the wake of their wand waving gusto, we decided to immediately start on the next behemoth:
I decided to do a better job at documenting the progress on this one. And by better, I just mean I decided to actually document the progress of this one. I present to you the following:

February 5 (Day 7):

February 13 (Day 15):

March 12 (Day 43 -- after another puzzle blitz [weekend] with the family):

 April 20 (Day 82):

 May 8 (Day 100):

May 27 (Day 119):

 June 21, 5:14 PM (Day 144):

  June 21, 11:32 PM (Day 144):

Two days later I moved out of my now, instead of gluing the puzzle together like I was seriously (SERIOUSLY) considering, it had to be packed up like everything else:
Had I been at the house when it was taken apart, I probably would have made sure it was just folded in half 15 times and tucked neatly back into the box. That's ok, though, the next time I put it together it won't take nearly as long. Now I know where all the pieces go.

My family has now set their superhuman eyes on this masterpiece:

End note: the number of hits on my blog have gone way way up in the last month. Blogger claims it's a result of the way they count hits now. I think it's due to my use of  the word "impropriety" in my last post. Now that I know the secret to web-wide popularity, you better believe my posts are going to be way trashier from now on.

Monday, July 02, 2012

My trip of impropriety.

So there's this boy. We had been going out for a couple of months -- me and my on-the-verge boyfriend. His friend works for a subsidiary of Princess Cruise Lines and was willing to share his friends and family discount on a 7-day Alaskan cruise through the Inside Passage. Naturally, I invited myself.

Not wanting to awkwardly share a room, we tried to invite two others to come with us. The only people available at such short notice was the RS President in Jon's ward and her sister. Five days before disembarkation, we booked a cruise to Alaska. Jon and I shared a room anyway. Though THIS was a surprise:
Would you like the left or right side of the bed, Jon...?

Juuuust kidding. We actually split the bed into two twins and he ended up sleeping on the floor in the other girls' room. Just a mild case of impropriety. Nothing to worry about, Mom. 

The first night on the cruise ship was spent running around trying to do and see everything. The second day we were at sea all day. Combine the nerves of a budding relationship with the rocking of a ship and you get throw up all over the entrance to the dining room. My throw up. My initial reaction was to find someone to clean it up, but I figured that the Asian family, gasping in horror in front of me, would probably take care of that instead. The only bathroom I could find had a line, so I played it way cool and, hiding my vomit covered hand, waited my turn with everyone else. By the time I made it back into the dining room, half of the entrance was blocked off and people with masks were sanitizing the area with bright red biohazard bags. Feigning ignorance and stifling an embarrassed laugh, I rejoined my friends for dinner. "I feel much better, anything exciting happen while I was gone? No? It's way dull out there too..." Nothing to see, nothing to see. And by the time the group was done with dessert, there wasn't.
Our first stop was Juneau. We saw a ton of bald eagles, went to Mendenhall glacier, and rode the tram up the mountain. 
I was so excited to see a glacier that I wanted to yell and slap my legs and jump up and down. I was a 29-year old 6-year old. 
In Skagway we hiked around a lake, hung out in town, and borrowed a car to drive up to the White Pass summit. All aboard was at 7:45 and we left at 6:30. Twenty minutes up, twenty minutes back, twenty minutes to the ship from town, 15 minute buffer. That was the plan. 

We got to this point and it was time to turn around but Jon wanted to go a little further.
"Are you sure we have enough time?"
"I think so."
We hurriedly took our pictures by this sign and then raced back down the mountain. We parked at 7:35. Ten minutes to get back. "One of the train tours gets back at 7:30, there should be lots of people loading." "There has to be a little leeway with that 7:45 All Aboard right? ...right?" Run, walk, jog, jog, jog, walk, fast walk. By the time we got there, one of the gangplanks was down and security was almost packed up. They had our pictures pulled up on the sign in screen because, guess what, we were the last 4 back on board. It was 7:50. Nope, no leeway.

The next day would have been the absolute worst day to miss because we were going to Glacier Bay National Park. We saw Marjorie and Lamplugh glacier. Favorite day by far. I had charged my camera the night before and by mid-afternoon it was dying already because I had taken so many pictures. So. Many. Pictures.
Unfortunately, besides the bald eagles, we didn't really see any wildlife during our travels. We saw splashes from some kind of something -- whether sea otters, sea lions, porpoises, or a family of mermaids, we have no idea. We also saw spouts and black dots that signified the presence of humpback whales and the moving brown dot of an Alaskan brown bear on shore. Turns out there were actually 2 bears. That was a pleasant surprise in the photo.
In Ketchikan we went to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show which was really entertaining. That night we went to the night club on the cruise ship and danced for 2 hours. The first hour of which we were the only ones on the dance floor. You're welcome, Mr. DJ. 
Our last stop was Victoria, British Columbia. Instead of going to Butchart Gardens, for which the city is renowned, we went to Craigdarroch Castle -- built by a wealthy coal baron in the 1890s. We were ready to see something different from the usual natural wonders we had been enjoying all week. I decided I want wood paneling in my house - nothing but wood paneling. I also decided I want to be a baroness. 
On our walk back to the cruise ship we stopped at the harbor to enjoy the parliament building and the Fairmont Empress Hotel.
That night the ship headed back to Seattle and the next morning we road tripped it back to Utah.

Overall, the trip was great -- Glacier Bay alone was incredible. My only regret is that we didn't prepare better during our 4 days before departure. What would have made the trip epic is if we had kayaked to the glacier in Juneau or found a cheaper-than-$200 option to whale watch. Preferably both. As it was, the towns were small and didn't have much to do or see. 

And...because I know you want to know, I wish I had better things to report with regard to my vacation boyfriend. Two weeks after our return, I forced him to break up with me on his birthday. "What's going on? How do you feel? Why are you so confusing? Why? Why? Why?" By the way, happy birthday...!!...!...!?

You're welcome.

Thouuuuugh...we still hang out. He still invites me over for dinner. My fake ex-boyfriend.

Ah...what a trip.