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Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

So if you’ve been following my blog for the past few weeks, you’ve heard me share some of my adventures from my recent cruise to Alaska. What you did not get a taste of in those previous posts, was the, let’s call it the more colorful side of our shore excursions.

Oh, I know there was the photo of me kicking up my heels on stage in a way too short can-can number at the Days of ’98 show in Skagway, but that was nothing my friends, compared to some of the other “activities” I participated in. Read on if you dare.

As the title of this post suggests, there was a wee bit ‘o beer drinking pert near every day. Suffice it to say, I love a good frosty brew. And where might this beer drinking be happening you ask? I’ll tell you. At some of Alaska’s most famous, or perhaps it’s infamous, saloons.

I’m talking, of course, about the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau, Alaska

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

and the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska.

Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Oh, there’s a reason why there’s “red” in the title.  Ever heard of the red light district?

Original red light from the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Original red light from the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

That’s right, every good old westen cowboy and mining town had one and I got to explore, up close and personal, one of “those” establishments.

Let’s start with my beer drinking visit to the Red Dog. The Red Dog Saloon originated during Juneau’s mining heyday, providing dancing and “enternainment.” In the early days “Ragtime Hattie,” played the piano in her white gloves and silver dollar halter top.  Use your imagination and conjure up a picture of that beauty if you will.

During the territorial days, Gordie Kanouse would meet tour boats on his mule, wearing a sign that said, “Follow my ass to the Red Dog Saloon.” Had I been around in those days, I probably would have followed.

Here’s what the Red Dog looks like today

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

 

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Red Dog Saloon, Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

and here’s an idea of what types of refreshment you can order from the menu.

The menu at Juneau's Red Dog Saloon. Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

The menu at Juneau’s Red Dog Saloon. Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

That’s right, you can get “shit” to fit any budget and a Duck Fart is the saloon favorite along with savory eats, such as: Klondike ribs, Motherlode burger, Iditarod Dip, Ninilchik wrap and The Nunivak, an Alaskan reindeer sausage topped with grilled onions on a sourdough Hoagie roll.

What you don’t see from my photos, is how many tables are crammed together around a miniscule stage where locals sing, tell tall tales and share some of Juneau’s mining day history. You can’t help but make friends with everybody since you’re basically at one big smushed together table.

Oh, and the sawdust on the floor. You don’t see that in these pictures either.

Okay, now on to the Red Onion. I’m not really sure why the “onion” part of the title is there, but there is no doubt about the “red” portion. After lunching on some good old fashioned comfort food (hamburgers and fries) and chasing it down with – that’s right – a dark ale, my sweetie pie and I paid our fee and ventured upstairs for the brothel tour. It should be noted that my husband was not keen on taking the tour until our waitress persuaded him.

My darling with our waitress at the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode (taken with waitress's permission, but not necessarily husband's), September 2014.

My darling with our waitress at the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode (taken with waitress’s permission, but not necessarily husband’s), September 2014.

Before we take a look at the photos, I think it’s important for ya’ll to know how this “getting upstairs” process used to work. You see, if a gentleman wanted to spend some time – and by time I mean 15 minutes – with a “lady,” he put in his request with the barkeep downstairs. Behind the bar was a case displaying cloth dolls with varying hair colors, much like these pictures hanging over the bar today.

The bar with original diamond mirrors at The Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

The bar with original diamond mirrors at The Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

The customer could request a specific girl/doll, a girl with a specific hair color, or, depending on the urgency of his need, any girl available. If the dolls in the case were standing up, the matching girl was available for “visitors.” If the desired doll was laying down . . . well . . . you get the picture.

When the gentleman’s 15 minutes was up, the upstairs “bouncer,” would enter the room, demand payment for another 15 minutes, or boot his ass out the door. When a “lady,” was finished with her customer, she’d drop the payment – in this case gold nuggets – down a copper tube. The barkeep downstairs would hear the rattling in the pipes, count the gold that fell through the tube into his waiting box behind the bar, then stand the doll back up, thus making her once again available. If the gentleman had short-changed the girl for his 15 minutes, he was stopped by another “bouncer,” at the bottom of the stairs from whence he has just descended. Pretty cool system right?

So let’s head upstairs, cuz I know this is what you’ve all been waiting for.

The staircase and "beckoning window" leading to the "rooms." Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

The staircase and “beckoning window” leading to the “rooms.” Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

On our tour we got to see one of the holes in the floor where the girls dropped the gold nuggets in addition to some other really, kind of cool, things. I didn’t get a good picture of the hole in the floor, but here is a photo of what all of the walls and the ceilings upstairs looked like. Yes, those are “hot wires,” that provided electric lighting. I don’t know about you, but I probably wouldn’t put paper on my ceiling and then lay hot wires across it, but that’s just me.

Original papered walls and ceiling and electric lighting system. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Original papered walls and ceiling and electric lighting system. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Here’s the hallway separating three rooms on one side and three rooms on the other.

Upstaris at The Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Upstaris at The Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

While not the original, here is a photo of the replicas of what the available dolls would have looked like. These dolls have china heads; the original dolls were cloth with yarn hair, which was ripped off and replaced with a different color, one appropriate to the new girl’s hair color (how thrifty). You see girls would come and go faster than gold nuggets so it was important to have interchangeable hair color for whatever new girl might come through the doors looking for “work.”

The "dolls." Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

The “dolls.” Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Here’s a “working girl’s” room (believe me this bed was barely big enough for a Barbie doll). There were about 8 of us on the tour and only half of us could be in this room at one time.

One of the "cribs" at The Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

One of the “cribs” at The Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Here’s the “madam’s” room, complete with a much bigger, almost a twin-sized, bed. Notice the fancier wallpaper and bedspread. Whether or not she owned furs was anybody’s guess.

The "madam's" room. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

The “madam’s” room. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

Oh, and here are photos of some “lovely” garments worn by the “dolls.” This first one is pretty sexy, huh?

"Working girl" attire. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

“Working girl” attire. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

"Working girl" attire. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

“Working girl” attire. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

"Working girl" attire. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

“Working girl” attire. Red Onion Saloon, Skagway, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode, September 2014.

So there you have it my friends, my adventures into the “colorful” history of Alaska. What did you think of the tour? But more importantly, what do you think of the “doll” system? Don’t be bashful, he was a dwarf. Tell me what you think. Would you have taken the brothel tour? Do you enjoy a good glass of beer?

As always, thanks for visiting today. I look foward to your comments.

Fun fact about me: This is not the first brothel tour I’ve taken.

Word of the Day: Lidar.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, November 2014. Unless otherwise stated, original photos by P. Rickrode.

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Welcome sign at the Victoria port. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Welcome sign at the Victoria port. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

The final port stop on our Alaskan cruise was Victoria, B.C., known for it’s amazing federal building, the Empress Hotel and thousands and thousdands of flowers and plants at Buchart Gardens.

Our exploration of Victoria began with a bus tour of the city on our way to Craigdarroch Castle, a masterpiece of Victorian architecture built in the 1800’s as home to coal baron Robert Dunsmuir.

Here is a photo of the front of the castle, but I believe it might actually have been the back of the castle. You’ll see why in the second photo.

Modern-day entrance to Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Modern-day entrance to Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

This photo looks more like the front of a home than the back to me.

Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Here we took a self-guided walking tour of the four-story mansion complete with: an abundance of intricate woodwork believed to be western and red cedar (can you see the faint orb hovering on the right side of the arch over the door?,

Porte-cochere entrance, original main entrance of Craigdarroch Castle, which was actually on the side of the house. Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Porte-cochere entrance, original main entrance of Craigdarroch Castle, which was actually on the side of the house. Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

this intercom system (speaking tubes as they called them),

The "speaking tube" intercom system in Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

The “speaking tube” intercom system in Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

massive stone fireplaces like this one in the main hall (notice the orb on the paneling near the mountain goat’s right horn,

The main hall fireplace inspribed with this phrase from Shakespear's Troilus and Cressida, "Welcome ever smiles and farewell goes out sighing." Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

The main hall fireplace inspribed with this phrase from Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, “Welcome ever smiles and farewell goes out sighing.” Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

amazing staircases with an oh-so-obvious orb sliding down the banister,

Me and my sweetie on the staircase from first floor to the second. Yes, that is an orb floating just above my hand. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, BC. September 2014.

Me and my sweetie on the staircase from the first floor to the second. Yes, that is an orb floating just above my hand. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, BC. September 2014.

mosaic tile floors,

Amazing tile work floor. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Amazing tile work floor. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

painted ceilings,

Lovely original painted ceiling in the first floor main hall. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Lovely original painted ceiling in the first floor main hall. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

exquisite stained glass (this picture does not do this lovely nook justice),

Beautiful stained glass windows. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Beautiful stained glass windows. Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

lavish Victorian-era furnishings,

A guest room at Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

A guest room at Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

and — did I mention — orbs.

It should be noted that not once on our journey to, or throughout the tour, did anyone ever mention the presence of these floating balls. It was not until I returned home and downloaded my pictures on to my laptop that I noticed an extreme concentration of the milky spheres.

While there are some orbs in these pictures, to see more pictures of Craigdarroch Castle’s orbs, visit my FB page, photo album Craigdarroch Castle.

After touring the castle, we headed into town where we opted to spend the final leg of the journey walking along the water’s edge. We enjoyed a lovely lunch of fish and chips and an amazing glass of stout beer at an authentic Scottish pub,

Baird & Banker, a Scottish Pub in Victoria, BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Bard & Banker, a Scottish Pub in Victoria, BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

wandered through the Empress Hotel

Empress Hotel, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode Setpember 2014.

Empress Hotel, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

 

A courtyard at the Empress Hotel, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

A courtyard at the Empress Hotel, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Empress Hotel, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Empress Hotel, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

and strolled along the water’s edge, past the Parliament building

Federal Building, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Federal Building, Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

and several beautiful bed and breakfast inns,

Huntingdon Manon, Victoria, BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Huntingdon Manor, Victoria, BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

back to our ship, admiring wooden boats moored in the quiet wharf

Wooden boar. Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

Wooden boat. Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

and watching sea planes land and take off along the way.

The sea plane taxi. Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

The sea plane taxi. Victoria BC. Photo by P. Rickrode September 2014.

All-in-all, a very relaxing and enjoyable day in Victoria.

So, what say you lovely readers: ever discover any orbs in your photos? Which picture do you think most looks like the front of Craigdarroch Castle? Ever been to Victoria BC? Ever traveled by float plane? Inquiring minds want to know so please take a moment to post a comment below. I love to know your thoughts.

Fun fact about me: I love egg salad sandwiches for breakfast.

Word of the day: Kunzite.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt November 2014. Original photos by P. Rickrode.

 

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Our first day in Alaska did not disappoint. Ketchikan, the southernmost city in Alaska and the salmon capital of the world, is, in a word, be-you-ti-ful. (You have to say it like that, 4 syllables.) Don’t believe me? Here’s the what we saw from the Lido deck of the Star Princess:

Alaska cruise 2014 025 (1024x768)

Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

 

Lutheran Church - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Lutheran Church – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and the Star Princess at Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and the Star Princess at Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Our land portion of our Ketchikan experience took us into the Tongass National Forest where we hiked deep into the rain forest and the very heart of bear country. I hoped for an up close encounter.

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode

Maybe if I ventured into a bear cave . . . I might just get lucky . . . .

Bear cave. Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Bear cave. Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

No luck, although there was a lot of bear poop. I was surprised to see Spanish moss and even more surprised to see the wicked undersides of these massive leaves. Yes, those are thorns and when they prick skin they immediately form a barbed hook and become impossible to extract. Yikes!!

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

We journeyed past a fishery with a waterway well-stocked with fish, mostly salmon. But still – no bears despite the never-ending fish buffet. The birds were enjoying the spoils that the bears had left behind. Seems bears only eat the heads and skin of the fish, leaving the birds to scavange the red fleshy parts many humans so love.

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Spawning salmon. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Spawning salmon. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Next we met a Native totem pole carver, who enlightened us about the dying art of carving totem poles. Then we saw the end results of many fine woodsmiths. I felt compelled to pose amidst the standing art. You can get a sense of the size of some of these works of art which all tell a story.

Totem pole carver at work. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Totem pole carver at work. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and totems. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and totem poles. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Still no bears. But I did feed a reindeer, which is weird because there are no reindeer in Alaska, except these few in captivity. (My husband was not as quick at snapping the picture as the reindeer was of eating the lettuce.)

P. Rickrode feeding a eindeer at Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode feeding a reindeer at Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Then we headed to lunch, where I finally got my Alaskan bear experience with, not one, but four bears, at a little slice of celestial awesomeness known as the George Inlet Lodge,

P. Rickrode at the George Inlet Lodge. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode at the George Inlet Lodge. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

George Inlet Lodge - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

George Inlet Lodge – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Here, we dined on Alaskan Amber beer and Dungeness crab – all you can eat – from a room with this amazing view:

George Inlet Lodge - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

George Inlet Lodge – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

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Talk about an amazing day. We were well-fed and well-educated by the time we climbed the 85 steps back up to the bus.

George Inlet Lodge - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

George Inlet Lodge – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

So there you have it. Our first official day in Alaska, albeit just barely inside the boundary. Ketchikan, Alaska earns a two thumbs up and a high-ranking number on my list of “places I have to go back to.”

Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. RIckrode 2014.

Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. RIckrode 2014.

Have you ever been to Ketchikan? Do you enjoy salmon? Do you have any nasty, wound-inducing plants in your neck of the woods? Inquiring minds want to know.

Oh – and there’s a special prize for the first person who finds the hidden Mickey.

Word of the Day:  Hedgehop

Fun fact about me: I’m allergic to salmon, which sucks when you’re in the salmon capital of the world.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, October 2014. Original photos by P. Rickrode and C. Rickrode.

 

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So by now you’re all sick of me talking about Texas so we’re going to give that little outing a rest. It’s time to start focusing on my upcoming cruise. That’s right, in September I’ll be sailing on the deep blue sea, headed north to Alaska.

Carnival Liberty docked at Cozemel, Mexico. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Carnival Liberty docked at Cozemel, Mexico.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

I don’t know about you, but I love cruising. Only on a cruise can you be in a different port every morning, miles away from where you were yesterday and not have to pack your things and move to a new hotel. On a cruise, your hotel goes with you. Stellar!

Now, I’ve been on several cruises, to several glorious destinations: Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, but this will be my first journey to Alaska. And the bonus? I can check another thing off my bucket list. You see, it’s a goal of mine to visit every state in our great nation before I meet my maker. So far, with the exception of Alaska, I’ve been in every state west of the Mississippi River and all but the far north eastern corner on the east side. I’ve been as far up as Virginia but that’s it. Some day I’ll visit that last corner of the US.

But, I digress. I’m gearing up for my journey north and in so doing, I’ve been doing some on line research. I don’t want to miss any of the important stuff when I’m in port. Whilst surfing the web, I came across this silly video about cruising that made me giggle. I wanted to share it with you. It’s short and hopefully will bring a smile.

And so I leave you with this question: Have you ever danced behind someone without their knowledge? Would you ever? I think I just might have to give this a go when I get on the ship in a few weeks. Stay tuned for my report (and with any luck a video).

Word of the Day: Zaffer (zaffre)

Fun fact about me: I have owned 9 cars in my life; all but the very first one were brand new when I bought them.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2014. Original photos by P. Rickrode. Video courtesy You Tube.

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In keeping with my recent posts about my trip to Texas, today I’m bringing you a spin on the Take It or Leave It game and I’m doing it Texas style. I’m calling this month’s installment “Did I or Didn’t I.”

The Alamo Shrine - San Antonio Texas Photo by P. Rickrode

The Alamo Shrine – San Antonio Texas
Photo by P. Rickrode

The rules are the same (Post your guesses in the comments section below. I will post my responses on Thursday the 14th. The person with the most correct guesses is my winner, but you must post another comment in the comments section, acknowledging that you are a winner, in order to claim your prize. It’s that simple. Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited after one week from posting the answers.)

So, here you go. For the following list of things, did I do it or not do it?

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

1. Wander the corridors of the historic and haunted Menger Hotel looking for ghosts?

2.  Buy something at a smoke shop?

3.  Take a picture inside the Alamo long barracks?

4.  Participate in the topless experience?

5.  Have lunch with a cute guy from the Ukraine (I know, weird)?

6.  Tour Ripley’s Believe It or Not?

7.  Come home with my first ever shiner?

8.  Bring home a piece of rock from inside the Alamo shrine?

9.  Feed the ducks on the Riverwalk?

10.  Cut in line to get on the boat tour?

So, obviously, I visited the Alamo. The picture at the top is one of the many I took (is that a clue?). And, based on last week’s post, I did enjoy some time on the Riverwalk. But, how wild and crazy and adventurous did I really get? And how rebellious was I? That’s up to you to decide. I can’t wait to see your guesses.

Overall I had a very nice visit and would go back for more thrills. How about you dear readers, have you ever been to San Antonio? What the most crazy, wild or adventurous thing you’ve ever done on vacation? Please share, I love to know I’m not alone in my escapades, legal or otherwise.

Word of the day: Yegg (this is a fun one)

Fun face about me: I like to do cross stitch crafts.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2014. Original photo of the Alamo by P. Rickrode, Other photos, courtesy Google Images.

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I’ve been playing around with some of the features on my laptop in an attempt to learn how to do more cool things. I know I can record videos from my laptop, but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. Late last year I learned about the “paint” feature on my computer and how I can alter photos. I’m still not very good at it, but I’m learning.

This is NOT me, but I'm sure I had the same expression on my face. Photo courtesy Google Images.

This is NOT me, but I’m sure I had the same expression on my face. Photo courtesy Google Images.

A couple of weeks ago I started playing around with my Power Point program and created my very first slide show. It’s very amateurish and kind of boring, but I enjoyed learning how all of the cool features work with this program. My experiment is uploaded below. Just click on the link and wait a few seconds for it to up load on your computer, then enjoy. I’m hoping to post more of these things in future and hopefully they’ll be a little more interesting. I may even figure out how to add mucic and stuff. For right now, this is my accomplishment. (Please note that the following download may not be compatible with all operating systems. Sorry.)

springtime-slide-show

Enjoy! And as always, thanks for your support.

P.S. I’m not sure what the cinnamon roll has to do with spring, but there you go.

What’s the last new thing you attempted to learn? Are you a computer geek, who loves this kind of technology?

Word of the Day:  Enceinte

Fun fact about me: My driver’s license photo is almost 12 years old. They just keep sending me new ones.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, March 2014. Original slide show produced and photographed by Patricia Rickrode.

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Ah, springtime! Welcome back birds.

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

Hello flowers!

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

And babies!

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Animal Kingdom Park WDW

So many awesome things to enjoy. As I sit here daydreaming writing, I close my eyes and imagine how wonderful it would be to sit here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

and enjoy a cocktail write.

I should be doing this:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

But I’d rather be doing this:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Sailing on Lake Tahoe

Or even just this:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

But instead, I’m working diligently on my 2013 vacation plans current work in progress.

Nothing sabotages a writing career faster than the advent of spring. We should be writing, we want to write, creative ideas are hitting fast and furious. But the temptation to go outside and play is strong. The lure of warm sunshine and fragrant flowers calls to our subconscious. Thoughts turn to gardening, sun bathing, long walks, dining on the patio and for me – vacation!

While I’m torturing my characters with attending funerals, mucking out horse stalls, and hiding from evil step-sisters, I’m really torturing myself with thoughts of being here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Yosemite Valley

Or here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode
Cascade Creek, Merced Co. California

That’s right, I’ve been visited by the ghosts of vacations past. They remind me that instead of sitting here gathering wool writing, I could be here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by P. Rickrode

Or here:

Photo by P. Rickrode

Photo by C. Rickrode

Or here:

Photo by C. Rickrode

Photo by C. Rickrode
Big Island, Hawaii

Or here:

Photo by C. Rickrode

Photo by C. Rickrode
Maui, Hawaii

And what trip down memory lane would be complete without a visit from the ghost of Disney vacations past?

The New FantasylandWalt Disney World

The New Fantasyland
Walt Disney World

So as spring makes it way into my little corner of the world, I shall savor it’s presence and bask in the rebirth of creativity and as new life springs forth from the earth. My mood word count will improve and my house will get cleaned muse will awaken and all thoughts will be of vacation writing “the end.”

Here’s hoping you all have a very productive springtime!

Word of the day: Raffish

Fun fact about me: One summer I worked at a B & B.

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Welcome to 2013!!  We made it. The Mayans were either wrong, or they simply got tired of keeping a damn futuristic calendar. I’m voting for the latter. If they were as busy then as I am now, I’m not even sure what I’m doing tomorrow, so who needs to know what’s going on 2000 or so years from now?

2013 calendar

But, anyway, here we are. Another year stretches before us. So many possibilities, so many challenges, so many new things to try. I’m not a fan of resolutions, but I do believe in always striving to better oneself, exploring new things, taking risks and just living without sweating the small stuff.bucket on beach

So as we embark on this brave new year, here are some things you may want to consider:

Make a bucket list. Blogger, Myndi Shafer shares her list here: http://myndishafer.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/my-35th-year-living-with-intention/ It doesn’t have to be elaborate or even long, but write down some fun things you’d like to accomplish this year or maybe next year.dog and cat

Make a promise to be more like your pets. So much can be learned by following the examples set by our pets. Jenny Hansen tells us what she’s learned about her pets here: http://jennyhansenauthor.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/10-writing-lessons-i-learned-from-my-dog/

Pets are one of God’s many blessings that we often take for granted. Take time to enjoy the gifts your pet has to offer.

Keep a gratitude journal as suggested by Ginger Calem here:  http://gingercalem.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/writersbutt/ Ginger has many helpful tips and suggestions for leading a healthy and fit life on her blog. If you haven’t checked it out, I encourage you to stop by sometime for some kind words and positive advice for being the best you you can be.

Journal

cruise shipTry something new for vacation. Might I suggest a cruise? Debra Kristi had a fabulous time and tells about it here: http://debrakristi.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/spring-break-will-you-vacation-how-about-a-cruise/ I recommend resurrecting your inner child and take a trip to Disneyland or Disney World. There’s no place more magical than a world created by Disney Imagineers.

Every day we are confronted with a multitude of opportunities to make lasting memories if we simply slow down and take the time to enjoy what’s around us. This year I challenge my readers to try something new, something a little out of your comfort zone, a little outside your normal every day box.

Even if it’s as simple as trying a new recipe or experiencing a different type of food. Perhaps sushi, Thai food, Indian cuisine. If you’ve thought about it, but haven’t taken the steps to make it happen, I encourage you to join a writer’s group. The advice and uplifting support from other members are hugely rewarding. My gang at the Sacramento Valley chapter of RWA has opened many many doors for me and my creativity.

If you haven’t ever done it, volunteer at a food kitchen or other charitable function that gives back to the community. Volunteering your time is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever enjoy. And who can have too many friends? Reach out to someone, touch a life, enrich your own world. You’ll be glad you did.

holding hands

Whatever you decide to do this year, make it brave, make it awesome, make it you!

Tell me, where are you going to venture off to this year? What exciting things do you have planned? What goals have you set for yourself? I’d love to hear them and cheer you on toward attaining them.

Word of the Day:  Natatorial

Fun Fact About Me:  I love to make scrapbooks.

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So it seems as though the end of the world year is upon us. There being only a very short amount of time left upon this earth calendar year, I feel as though I should openly express my gratitude for the wonderful things I have enjoyed since January 1st of this year.

But, before I get started, I must congratulate Pat O’Dea. She is the lucky winner of my sweet surprise from last month’s blog! Congratulations, Pat!

Now, let the gratitude begin:

First, I am grateful for my family and friends who have circled the wagons when I needed protection, smiled when I needed encouragement, scolded when I’d strayed off course, and just plain been available when necessary.

Second, I’d like to thank my cyber friends, new and not-so-new. I’ve managed to get through an entire year of blogging, albeit only once a month, but, since that was my goal, I can proudly say that I accomplished it. Next year, should there be one, my goal is to increase my blogging presence with twice-montly posts! I know you’re all dancing with glee!

2012 was a year of great expeditions, great acquisitions and great accomplishments! In March I was able to visit with treasured friends at our annual Nascar weekend in Vegas.

Nascar & Yosemite 038

In June my wonderful husband and I were able to enjoy seven amazing days in the Western Caribbean!

Western Caribbean cruise 2012 091

We climbed ancient Mayan ruins, went cave-tubing in Belize, boarded a pirate ship and swam in the warm clear waters of Grand Cayman and zipped through the jungle in Roartan on 4-wheel quads!

Western Caribbean cruise 2012 163

In July we moved into our new home, in September I traded in my old Subaru with 214,000+ miles on it for a brand new 2012 Nissan AWD Rogue and in October we visited one of our favorite places, Disney World!

WDW 2012 036

While there, I thoroughly enjoyed my very first trick-or-treating experience! Having been denied such “normal” childhood activities, I was overjoyed when I learned that Disney encouraged kids of ALL ages to trick-or-treat. Here’s my husband and I getting ready to embark on our redneck tourist trick-or-treating journey:

WDW 2012 071

WDW 2012 072

Aren’t we OMG hideous! We looked ridiculous, but we had a lot of fun.

All in all it’s been a pretty awesome year. When it’s all said and done, I have no regrets, lasting memories, more friends than I started the year with, and positive goals for the new life year ahead.

Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart for your support throughout this year. I hope to see you all again in the upcoming months should we all survive the prophesied apocolypse! Have happy and safe holidays and feel free to share your accomplishments and gratitude in the comments below! I’d love to celebrate with you!

Word of the day:  Moppet

Fun fact about me: I totaled my very first brand new car before I even got my license plates! (That’s not really such a FUN fact is it?)

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So my goal was to post a new blog on the first of every month. I missed the April deadline. I’m blaming it on April Fools, but the only fool is me. Where did March go? Just yesterday it was my birthday and now it’s April 2nd. What happened to those 7 days in between?

Of course it would help if Mother Nature cooperated, but she is a fickle female if ever there was on. Yesterday, April 1, it snowed. With all the rain and snow so late in the season, it’s hard to wrap my brain around the fact that’s it’s spring. But – now that I’ve come to terms with the reality of the season, I really want it to be spring-like outside. Now that I’m fully aware that it’s April, I’ve suddenly developed cabin fever and I want out of here! I need to ditch these winter duldrums and welcome warmer weather with open arms.

So, in my mind I’ve officially accepted spring. It’s time to work on the tan, dig out the tank tops and shorts, dust off the flip flops and whip up an icy margarita! In fact, I’ve gone from cabin fever to spring fever in a mere 24 hours. I need to get out of here, see the world, soak up some sun!

But, I can’t go AWOL just yet. Vacation’s not for another couple of months. Dang it!

In the meantime I’m vacationing in my mind. Today I took a little cyber stroll down memory lane and compiled a photo album of fun vacation’s past to share with you. I hope you’ll enjoy the next couple of minutes mentally vacationing with me. I will be your narrator and tour guide as we go along.

Enjoy!

This was an awesome find on my trip to Walt Disney World in 2009!

The Writer's Stop at Disney's Hollywood Studios!

This little hidey hole was a great find because later that same day we rode out a thunder storm in this shop while sipping hot chocolate and thumbing through a wide variety of books!

Here is my hubby having a little pre-show fun with his 3-D glasses at Mickey’s Philharmonic in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World.

Here I am developing my musical talent at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at the Wilderness Lodge campgrounds at Walt Disney Word. My skills improved considerably as I consumed more wine.

And no trip to Disney World would be complete without some pictures of Cinderella’s beautiful color-changing castle and fireworks!

In 2010 my husband and I took a mini vacation to Disneyland (we’re Disney geeks in case you didn’t notice by now) where we saw the most recent entertainment addition to Disney’s California Adventure Park, The World of Color light, laser and water extravaganza! I got this awesome photo just as the show was ending.

And who can resist a spin in a pink teacup?

In 2011 my husband and dad and I took a day trip to Yosemite and got some beautiful shots of the valley floor, Half Dome and numerous water falls.

Here are some pictures of sunny places from our Caribbean cruise starting with an awesome shot of Miami Beach, followed by three shots of St. John and then sunset over the bay at St. Thomas.

This is me wondering why in the heck I didn’t wear my bathing suit! Most likely it was my husband’s fault. Yeah, that’s it.

And a fun get-away to Mexico in December of 2008 with my husband and our nieces and nephew.  The first photo is a nice lunch buffet on the beach in Matazlan. I’m the one with the cool shades. Next to me is my niece Jennifer. Across from Jennifer is her twin Zach and behind Zach is their big sister, Stephanie. Good times! Good food! Pay no attention to the date in these photos. I forgot to remove the date stamper thingey mabob from the camera settings. (I’m a dork that way.)

Next stop is Cabo San Lucas for a little lunch, tequila tasting and bug munching for dessert. That’s right, I said bugs. I ate a bug. On purpose. Again with my really cool shades, I explain the correct way to enjoy tequila – shake, shoot, squeeze, repeat. My nephew is just under the legal drinking age in Mexico, but he played it cool and sat at the big kids’ table with me and his older sister. It’s obvious from the looks on their faces that they do not play drinking games on a regular basis. (That’s a good thing!) Me on the other hand . . . .

After sampling the different tequilas, we are ready for our dessert. I had an unusual reaction after crunching up my locust (or maybe it was a cricket). It wasn’t bad.  Zach seemed to enjoy his; Stephanie, not so much. A little tequila and insects never hurt anyone.

Lesson to nieces and nephew – what happens in Mexico does not necessarily stay in Mexico. (First I corrupt them, then I exploit them. What are aunts for?)

So now, does seeing this make you want to go on vacation as much as I do? Where’s your favorite vacation spot? I’d love to hear about a fun trip you took.

Word of the day: Evaginate

Fun fact about me: I love to color in coloring books!

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