Tuesday Tell-All, Alaska Edition

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*I’ll start off today’s Tell-All by telling you an embarrassing little tale that has nothing to do with the kayaking picture above. So on cruise ships, they have lots of different entertainment options at any given hour–everything from ballroom dancing lessons (which we did, surprisingly) to fruit carving demonstrations (which we, unfortunately, did not).

One of the particular entertainment options the first full day was karaoke (I know, you can already see this going downhill). One thing you should know about me: I actually don’t really have much fear when it comes to performing in front of people. In fact, I rather love speaking in church, but that’s a different story. Anyway, no one in Matt’s family would be caught dead getting up and doing a number, so I figured I had to represent the whole Meidell clan and get up. They had over 10,000 songs to choose from, and I spent a good 20 or more minutes trying to feverishly pick some song–one that was upbeat, but still jazzy. One that I knew most (or all) the lyrics to, but one that wasn’t by a man. One that could show off my crooning ability, but wouldn’t be so complicated that it would reveal that I actually don’t have that awesome of a voice. So I finally decided on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” because I thought it would be a perfect combination of all the above.

Before I started singing, the karaoke MC had me introduce myself and say a few other things. One thing I specifically joked about was that I sure hoped I’d picked a version of the song I knew. After a good-natured laugh from the audience, the MC cued the music, and I knew IMMEDIATELY that I did not recognize the song AT ALL. For starters, it was only straight-up Ooos and Aaahs for the first minute (if not more). Then, when it got to the lyrics, they definitely did not match the lyrics that I knew. Basically what happened is that I made a good faith attempt at the Ooos and then, when a LONG instrumental session started, I started “dancing.” Finally, halfway through the song, I decided to put everyone (including myself) out of their misery and tell the MC I didn’t know the song. Just as I was exiting, another host rushed up and said, “Wait! I’ve got another version! Come back!” Well, turns out it was the exact same version of the first. At least the audience were good sports about it and laughed along with me–good thing half of them were drunk, eh?

*Sadly, I’ll probably still try karaoke in the future.

*Anyway, no more long, ridiculous tales, I promise!

*Did you catch that line in the novel up there that talked about how Matt and I took a couple ballroom dancing lessons? I want to impress upon your minds the significance of this important occasion. You see, Matt wouldn’t even dance at our own WEDDING. Needless to say, he doesn’t exactly think it’s the funnest way to spend any given hour. So imagine my delighted surprise when he good-naturedly agreed to give it a try, “since we should do things we were both interested in on this trip.” That man’s a keeper, I tell ya–and he was definitely one of the better dancers in the group. What a hunk.

*One reason why Matt and I didn’t gain hardly any weight on this cruise is because we were always going, going, going–when we weren’t hiking/walking/kayaking on land, we were running up and down the stairs on the cruise ship a bajillion times. And when a ship has 20 decks total, that equals a LOT of stairs in one day. I think my bum still hurts from it.

*The only time I read anything other than magazines on this trip was on the car ride to and from Seattle, where I *almost* finished The Fellowship of the Ring.

*But, even though I didn’t read much as far as actual novels, I bought not just one, but TWO magazines on this trip. And Matt reasoned that since I “got” to buy two magazines, he should “get” to buy Magic cards. So he now has three new decks.

*One random purchase we made was a box of nectarines in Oregon somewhere at this little local farmer’s market, which we got for $8.95. They are the best nectarines I have ever tasted in my life, which is a good thing, considering we still have about 30 of them.

*Can I mention again how really awesome the food was on the cruise? I mean, I’m seriously considering doing a whole post just about the food. Don’t put it past me, folks–I have no shame.

*We saw mushrooms that looked exactly like bagels. Maybe you’ll get to see a picture sometime.

*This picture was taken as we were waiting for a shuttle in Juneau. What this picture doesn’t tell you is that five minutes later, a mama black bear and her cub came out and swiped a salmon out of the river about 100 feet away. And Matt was SOOOOO disappointed because we’d waited around most of the day to see a bear, and we always seemed to miss the sightings by mere minutes. The saddest part? It was totally my fault that we left for the shuttle at that particular time. Sorry, everyone!

*All of us (28 total in our group, all from Matt’s extended family) came on this cruise (with the Princess Cruise line, by the way) because Matt’s grandma was celebrating her 80th birthday. Wanna know what’s even cooler than the fact that an 80-year-old woman chose an Alaskan cruise to celebrate with? The fact that she went ziplining on it.

*We were chronically sleep-deprived the majority of the trip because we didn’t want to miss anything (and many times we’d get to a port or pass a landmark early in the morning). But when we did get to sleep, the beds were amazing. Matt remarked that it’s the first time in months he hasn’t had back pain upon waking. And even better than the beds? The shower. Whoa! Needless to say, it was a little hard to come back to our stifling apartment and sleep on our sagging couches (because it’s still too hot upstairs) and take a shower in the little fluctuating-temperature jet of water that comes out.

*Matt bought a fossilized whale bone for his souvenir. I bought Christmas ornaments. We both got sweet rainjackets in Juneau because we hadn’t packed anything else warm enough.

*Speaking of the weather, we were extraordinarily lucky–it was sunny for us every single day of the trip. Sometimes in the early morning on the deck of the ship, it got cold, but while in Alaska, it was perfect. The Alaskan natives were all astounded and kept reminding us that Alaska was not normally like that.

*Whenever something lucky like that happens, we blame the “Goldie dust”–apparently, Matt’s grandma Goldie (the one celebrating her birthday) is the luckiest woman in the world, and everything always seems to magically go her way. I should consider taking her with me on the first day of school next week…

*K, this is already the longest Tell-All ever, and I haven’t even scratched the surface of our trip. But one thing you’ve gotta know—all these beautiful pictures (as much as I’d like to take credit) were taken by Matt’s mom, Sherry Meidell (with her camera that is obviously a lot nicer than ours). Oh, this trip has made us so very, very camera hungry…

*As I’ve been talking to people about our cruise, it seems that everyone (literally, everyone) has said that Alaska is their number-one most-desired cruise destination. Do you agree?

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