Message from the Frontier State

It's hard work being on a cruise. First, there's all the decisions. Like, should we have dinner on the Lido Deck (Deck 9) at the buffet-style restaurant, or fancy sit-down dinner at the Vista Dining Room (Deck 3) or just mojito shooters at the Crow's Nest (Deck 10?) Maybe I should just stay in and order room service.......just like yesterday, and the day before that. There's just so many ways to get fat in one week! And then there's the outfits-the glitter or the velour track suit? Decisions, decisions. .....
But Alaska is just so fabulous. Right now I'm in the hospitable home of the Mahle's, native Alaskans who kindly spent the afternoon showing off their capital city, Juneau. We climbed the twisty streets to the local Orthodox church, to see where my old friend Cana came to meet her long-distance love, Basil, and had mango waffles and Americanos in a homey coffeehouse.
We cavorted around with the Mendenhall Glacier, icebergs, sock-eye salmon and all, and even managed to run into a BLACK BEAR, which made all my Alaska dreams come true. Yesterday was spent in Glacier Bay, up the Johns Hopkins and Tar inslets, communing with the mighty Marjorie and Grand Pacific glaciers. Glaciers are the color of a blue Slushee, with Oreo cookies crumbled on top. Their tops are covered with seracs, beautiful towering spires, jagged and crowning. The whole bay was silent, looming and majestic. The silence was broken only a couple of times by loud cracks in the glacier, when we would all stand together, breath held, on the Promenade Deck, waiting for a possible glacier-calfing. (This is how you get icebergs.) Tomorrow it is Sitka, and the next day is Ketchikan. We're all having a great time, and Alaska is glorious.
And lastly, a quote by Mark Twain, the master of understatement:
"A man who keeps company with glaciers
comes to feel tolerably insignificant by and by."


Anna said...

hello there! i was aboard the noordam about a month ago and had an amazing time... and you are absolutely right about the food! make sure to stop up at the lido deck at least once for breakfast... there is a wonderful guy named Mike who makes the best waffles... :)Have a great time with the rest of your trip!

Susan Harwood said...


My name is Susan Harwood and I am contacting you because you have listed Arthur Ransome in your list of favourite authors.

I have a blog called THE BRICKS IN THE CAVE


It is an illustrated adventure story for children and I am posting a chapter a day. (It has started already buy the earlier chapters can easily be found through the side-bar.)

I am thinking it is the kind of book people who like Swallows and Amazons will also enjoy and would very much value your opinion on this.

I can be contacted through


as well as through the 'Comments' on the blog itself.

By the way, it is hard not to be jealous of your journey among the glaciers!

Yours sincerely

Susan Harwood

rosa said...

Anna-the Noordam is indeed lovely! I missed the waffle man, I chose the breakfast in bed every time!

Susan-Thank you so much for clueing me into your fabulous story! I am greatly enjoying it, and am blog rolling your site. I'm on chapter 9 so far, and find it immensely exciting. I hope it gets published soon!

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.