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Alaska: part 2
Sunday. 6.5.16 9:21 am
Sunday morning we woke up and made the final decision to drive out to Seward. It had been discussed as an option, but it wasn't cemented in yet. The plan was to be on the road by 11, since it was about a 3 hour drive; we got in the car at ten till, so the timing was actually on point. We stopped several times on the way out so that we could take pictures and see it better than just from the car.

There was one stop that we made, at a little shopping plaza where they had a gas station, food places, and a store called The Great Alaskan Tourist Trap. Of course I had to go in there! I didn't buy anything {come to think of it, I didn't buy any souvenirs} but the stuff in there was cool to look at. Perhaps next time I go there, I'll make sure to have extra space in my bag for random stuff.

On our way to head back out on the road, we were waiting to turn, when all of a sudden we heard what sounded like a truck running over something in the road. Next thing we know, the same truck has pieces falling out from underneath it. We literally watched a transmission drop, right in from of our eyes!! It was the craziest {not really} thing to see!! I mean, you hear about a transmission dropping, but you don't realize that that's literally what it does, in pieces. This poor guy driving the truck was also pulling a rather large trailer. If there has to be a silver lining, he had a caravan with him {another truck and trailer, and an RV} and his truck broke down right at a gas/service station, where there's also food and places to just kind of survive for a while until a tow truck can make it all the way out there.

Since we stopped several times, the 3 hour drive took about 4 hours and we made it there around 3. It was the one and only time in the 5 days we were there that it wasn't sunny, but we also weren't anywhere near the city we were staying in.

Seward is beautiful, even with the overcast, foggy day. The contrast of colors was still brilliant. We stopped to take pictures first, then decided to get some grub. We went to this place called Chinook's, which had some awesome seafood choices. I got smoked scallop mac'n'cheese. Man, was that tasty! I know I'll have to go back there next time I find myself in that area.

Once we were all pretty stuffed, we headed back to the same lookout spot to take more pictures and wander around a bit more. The fog had lifted so you could see the mountains more clearly. It was still overcast, but not raining or foggy. If you're friends with me on Facebook, you've probably already seen all of these photos that I'm talking about. If you're only following me on Instagram, you've seen just a small glimpse in to the beauty that is Alaska.

Once we got back in to town, we were tired again so we called it another early night. The next day was our final full day in town so we decided to split up and do different things. The friend who I flew out with wanted to get in some shopping, while I, and the friend we were visiting, wanted to get on a bike and hit the trail that was behind her apartment. She already had a bike, so we rented one for me to use. It had been well over a decade since the last time I was on a bike so it took me a bit to get back in to the hang of it. I wasn't quite back up to where I could ride with no hands, but by the time we reached the halfway point, I was able to stay pretty stable while only using one hand.

I need to make sure I get in more practice since that's pretty much the only requirement prior to learning to ride a motorcycle.

The trail was about 10 miles one way, and we rode the whole thing. There were parts of me that were sore, that hadn't been that sore in quite a long time. I'm not too surprised that my legs weren't more sore, since I work those out fairly regularly, but there were definitely other parts that were sore.

I managed to get myself sunburned during this bike excursion. Since it wasn't super hot out, and there was a nice cool breeze, I didn't think about applying sunscreen. To be honest, I don't usually think about putting on sunscreen... considering how ridiculously white I am, you'd think it was something I'd put more thought in to. Either way, once we were back I could definitely tell that my upper back was burned. I could feel the heat coming off it, but I didn't really think anything else had been burned... until we went to dinner and I could see how red my arms and chest had become. They weren't nearly as bad as my back; that got the brunt of it.

After sushi for dinner, we went to Target to get me some aloe. Annoyingly enough, a moose gave birth in that same parking lot ... the next day. We didn't see any kind of native wildlife, except a beaver bumbling down the side of the freeway, and then a moose just gives birth in the same parking lot we'd been in only the day before. Oh well. Clearly it just wasn't meant to be. Perhaps next time.

The final day we were there, we decided to go to a bar and grill for lunch. It's a sports bar and grill so it was pretty busy, considering it was only 11:30 on a Tuesday morning. The food there was delicious; the desserts were amazing. It was a good final place to eat. I was so full from the food that I ate there, I didn't have anything else to eat the rest of the day. Once we finished up there, we went back to the apartment just to chill out until it was time to go to the airport.

The flight back wasn't bad. I finally had a window seat. I watched part of a movie and just tried not to think about how much pain I was in. By the time we landed, however, I was just ready to get home. The burns are in the peeling/itchy stage right now. It's driving me a little crazy because I want to scratch, but I know I can't. It should be mostly healed in the next couple of days.

Overall the trip was great, it was just more stressful than I had anticipated. I'm already planning my next trip back; this time I will be traveling alone. Or with someone I know for sure isn't going to cause stress. I know for sure that I will no longer be traveling with the friend I went up there with.

If you guys ever get the chance to go to Alaska, do it. It's one thing to see pictures and hear about how beautiful it is there, but you don't truly know until you see it for yourself.

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Alaska: part 1
Wednesday. 6.1.16 1:42 pm
Due to the number of activities we did, I will be splitting this in to two, just to make it easier to type up, and to read; rather than just one massive entry.

It was very strange leaving work at noon on Friday. I came home, finished packing up the last little bit of stuff, and headed to my friend's place. We didn't really need to be at the airport until 3:30, but my friend wanted to make extra sure that we'd make it through security with enough time to get to our gate ... so we got to the airport 3 1/2 hours early. It took us less than 20 minutes to get through security. So we then had a few hours to still kill. The longer we waited, the more anxious she became. It was kind of annoying, to be honest. But I digress.

We finally boarded our plane. I ended up in a window seat that had no window. What the shit. So of course, I had no movies to watch, no new books to read, and no window to even look out of to kill time. To make matters more frustrating, the captain kept coming on overhead, once we were flying over Alaska, to say what beautiful views were around us... with no window to look out of.

Once we were there, it was amazing. The view just from the airport was stunning, and we hadn't gone any farther than the parking lot. There's so much untouched land in AK; there really are no words. Pictures don't do it justice. You just have to go see it for yourself.

The first night we were there, we stopped at a diner and had some pretty decent food. It was one of those places that the friend we were visiting liked to go when she had friends over. After that, we went to this park that was right at the edge of the airport runways, on the top of a cliff, so it had some gorgeous views! It was so crazy that the sun didn't set until after 11. And it didn't really get fully dark, because sunrise was just after 4 in the morning. We went to a bar after the park, and when we left at midnight, it was still dusk out. There was still light on the horizon at 2 when we finally went to bed. It was crazy!

The next morning, we got up a little later than I think we were hoping to. By the time we got out for breakfast, it was just after noon. We stopped at another diner for breakfast. I had reindeer sausage. It was super lean, and really tasty. There was definitely left overs from that. We agreed to go on a bit of an easier hike; it was only 2 miles round trip. But the views were pretty and the waterfall at the end was nice. Feeling the breeze and mist kick up from the running water felt really nice. It was amazing how warm it was there this whole past weekend.

I got eaten alive my mosquitoes out there, surprisingly. Though, we were near a water source, and that's where they thrive. I'd counted at least 11, between my legs, arms and back. Once we finished the hike, we continued on to other random areas, stopping here and there to take photos and just enjoy the beautiful wonder that is Alaska.

It was sunny and warm the entire day. My friend I went with had been doing nothing but talking about getting crab, so we stopped at a brew house for dinner. The food there was amazing! Again, I ate way too much food. There wasn't any left overs this time, but I felt like I wouldn't need to eat again for like, 2 days. Once we were done there, we were all pretty tired so we just kind of went back to my friend's apartment and called it kind of an early night. I'm pretty sure we were all in bed before midnight. It was still light out, but I think the sun had sunk behind the horizon.

The second and third full days, plus the last half day, will be in the next one. I'm still not really in the mood to blog and I feel if I keep going for now, it won't do the description justice.

Until then. . .

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Mental preparedness, and low expectations
Saturday. 5.21.16 8:45 am
Something that a friend from the past taught me, or tried to teach me, was that having low expectations (or zero, if possible) was highly underrated. It allows for pretty much anything to happen and you don't end up getting hurt as badly had you expected more. I tried implementing that in my life; it was pretty damn challenging at first. I've grown to be better at it, but I'm nowhere near perfect. I recently found myself having much higher expectations than I even consciously realized I'd had, until afterwards when the shitty moments happened and I got quite hurt.

So here I am in another interesting situation, and I keep telling myself not to expect anything. Just keep enjoying it for what it is. Go with the flow. If the flow stops, then go with the new flow. Let it happen as it happens and don't expect anything. It's been quite nice so far, but it's only in the very early stages so let's see what comes next.

I leave for Alaska in less than a week. I do believe I have finally mentally prepared myself to not be alone that entire weekend. I mentioned to my friend that I was probably going to take advantage of the trail that runs behind her apartment so that I could clear my head and she eagerly said she'd join. I love her to bits, but I think she missed the point. Oh well. I'm still bringing my extra headphones just in case I do get that little bit of alone time.

Today is the day to go out and prepare for next weekend. Girly stuff: nails, hair, etc. It's also a birthday celebration for my friend. Her birthday is technically tomorrow, but since it's harder to stay out late on a Sunday when you have to work Monday, we're celebrating today. It's a typical rainy Seattle day, however, so I'm not sure how much time we'll be spending outdoors.

Yesterday was my nephew's birthday. It's kinda crazy that he's already 6! Like, that baffles me in the fact that in just 4 more years, he'll be 10. And my sister will be 30! Ugh. Me turning 30 this year doesn't make me feel old. Knowing how close she is to 30 is what makes me feel old. Since I wasn't able to get anything super special for them for Christmas, I decided to get them better gifts for the birthdays. I bought my nephew a new bike. He'd been asking for one since he was kind of outgrowing his old one. I didn't like the character designs on the ones they had at Target or Walmart so I got him a nice one from REI. I also bought my sister the Chucks that she's been wanting. She already knows about it, but my nephew will be surprised by the bike sometime mid next week. I also bought myself an REI membership, because why not.

I need to make sure not to overspend today so that I can still have a good chunk of money to just spend on stuff up in Alaska. I know most of the money spent will be on food and drinks, but I'd like to be able to buy some souvenirs and whatnot as well. We'll see how the day goes. I'm going to try to write at least once more before I go on my trip.

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T-minus two weeks
Friday. 5.13.16 8:54 pm
Alaska is coming up so quickly! I feel like I have so much going on until then, but really, I'm only busy tomorrow, next Saturday, and that's pretty much it. Other than work, of course. I was supposed to work OT today, but they didn't have the work ready that they wanted us to do, so there was no point in staying over. It's actually really frustrating because they keep pushing for us to get this done as quickly as possible, yet they don't provide the basic necessity. And then when they do, they want it to be perfect, but done immediately. With as complicated as this department is, it's just not possible, yet, to have efficiency and accuracy without needing extra time.

We affectionately call this department our detention center problem child. It's not just a problem child; it's worse.

Tomorrow is a baby shower for a coworker, then next weekend is a birthday weekend for a friend. There will be many drinks consumed during that weekend. It's probably good that I'm not interested in anyone right now, otherwise I'd probably fuck up any possible chance I might have with said fictional individual.

I really need to get myself back under strict self control in these next two weeks. I have put on a few pounds over the past few weeks and I'm getting farther away from my goal. I already know that I won't reach my weight goal by the time I get to AK, but I can at least get back to where I was a few weeks ago. Plan is to get back to the gym 3 times a week, and I really need to get the snacking back under control. I'm still not eating a whole lot, but I'm eating more crap. This weekend should be alright, though, because my mouth is swollen. So eating hurts. . . time for a liquid detox.

I wanted to get a tattoo today, for Friday the 13th, but that just wasn't in the cards. I have too much I need to buy between this weekend's baby shower, next Wednesday's baby shower, my nephew and sister's birthdays before the end of the month. And I have pampering to do next weekend in preparation for the AK trip. I may have to dip in to my savings. Once I get back, I need to buckle down and get ready for VA in September.

Holy shit. When did I become a person who has a social life? No longer does my job(s) consume my life.

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May 5th
Thursday. 5.5.16 9:10 pm
I think I figured out why I was feeling so strangely; I made a note on my calendar and so I should be fine for at least another month. Or so. Who knows how long it'll be before it happens again. Ah, hormones.

Today was Cinco de Mayo. Obviously. It's really hard not to know that when you say what date it is. Did I eat any kind of Mexican food? Absolutely. Was it something I purchased myself? Absolutely not. One of the MA's made homemade guacamole and pica de gallo. An RN bought some Juanita's tortilla chips and so of course I indulged a little. My coworker calls them crack chips; they're so good.

The end of my day was probably the best part of the day, though. I officially have paid off the debt that has been consuming my life for the last three years. I made the final payment {which will technically be paid tomorrow} and I'm so. Excited! Ah! This means that it'll show as settled on my record and my credit score will finally start to go up again, which means I'll be able to rent a new apartment! Not gonna lie, I've already started looking. I'm hoping to be out sometime before my VA trip.

On that note, I'm gonna go to bed. I don't even care that it's still early. It's dark, and cool, and that's all I need to go to sleep. Just a little Rainymood and it'll be the perfect combo.

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It's just weird
Tuesday. 5.3.16 8:53 pm
I really can't explain the way I'm feeling in any better words. Weird is the best I can come up with. I don't necessarily feel sick, or sore, upset, angry. I just feel weird. I'm hoping sleep will help tonight. I'm kind of feeling like maybe I should have gotten some coffee...

I have a little over 3 weeks before I go to Alaska. I may not act like it, but I'm super excited about this trip. My friend who's coming with me has been through so much this year, though, that I'm afraid she won't be fully there when we go. I wish there was something I could do or say, but there's really nothing.

I forgot to mention that one of the pairs of earrings I got were dangly! I haven't been able to wear dangling earring since I made the choice to gauge the holes. It's pretty awesome that they're expanding the selection of plugs and spacers. Next time I go to Spencer's, I'll need to get some new naval rings. It's been ages since I put in a new design. I'd get new tongue bars, but the metal one works just fine for me. I do want to go back up to my 10, but they don't sell gauges in tongue bars anymore so there's really no point.

Anywho, I'm glad tomorrow is Wednesday because that means I've already made it through half the week. It would be nice to just skip to Friday, but that's not how time works. So instead, I just hope that the next three days go by as quickly, and painlessly, as possible.

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