Haven't written anything since I was last in Edmonton which was at the end of May or thereabouts. What have I done or not done since?

Ah well, I guess a SRT is in order then:

The ghostly plantation in the Edmonton elevator
Back from Edmonton after seeing the ugliest elevators ever. Fake trees on fake wallpaper (it's not easy to achieve, but it is possible). The tree motif ran from the lobby through the foyer and into the elevator. I'm just glad it stopped before getting to my room. Edmonton itself was cold and rainy. There were a few dissenting voices, but were well beaten down by my superior knowledge and experience (or that's what I like to think anyway). Then fortunately, I got an early flight home (thank you West Jet) without extra charges, went home and scrubbed the dust of the prairies off me, and sat on my patio set (whose bill is yet to come - oh me, oh my) and fell asleep. It was a mentally exhausting two days I have to say. All those arguments about nothing. Anyway, I was glad to leave the hotel what was in the middle of nowhere and head home where I'm not quite as in the middle of nowhere. There was also a conference call where we decided to set the scurvy dogs on the even scurvier dogs. So glad that so and so's fob was taken off the list right away.

Then there was some running - not quite enough. In fact, it's been bloody hard to motivate myself to run lately. Even staring into the mirror at the rolls developing around my waist isn't enough. Ah well, perhaps it's time to just give in to old age, crawl into a hole and shrivel away into nothing. But no. There're a few things that I must do first. Like eat more at Tojo's. Dr. Shark and the seal brought me there a few weeks ago to celebrate the end, and the start, of something old (9 years! Imagine!), and something new (another 5 years! 5! Imagine), respectively. That brought my taste buds back to life again. The cucumber slices and the freshness of Tojo's Tuna. Dear Lord, let me never forget that taste.

Only the finest ermines for DWE
On the Friday after returning from Edmonton, the ICBs plus one other guest who was left at loose ends when the Big Monster disappointed her little monsters by getting bronchitis came over for a meal. DWE almost immediately demanded his furs, "My ermines if you please!", as there was a chill wind even if the sun was still out. There were grilled vegetables and roasted viands of sorts. Unfortunate that the bacon fell through the grill and caused big fires what burnt the veg and viands, but I passed it off as lightly cajun and nobody knew any better. It's quite easy preparing meals when you're from somewhere exotic - nobody knows what it should really taste like, and you say, "this is the way it's done" in a tone of authority, and immediately everyone is cowed for fear of being thought a uncultured and uncultivated boor. There was no GNC (who's got the time), but there were NYC CCCs.  The SOCK and a friend (BoP) came along after they had grazed on their own and joined the merriment. Then it got late and I lured them out of the apartment by tossing scraps of bacon on the floor leading to the outside - they scurried like so many high-clarce minx trying to preserve their skins, and I slammed the door on them. Ha!

Madam Pampas lurks behind the blue Iris
waiting to strike out
That Sunday, for my sins, I was inveigled into a run that spanned three bridges, and then into doing community service. There I met Madam Pampas who was vicious, bad-tempered and didn't particularly enjoy the grooming that was so necessary. She fought back hard and cut, scratched and poked at all the bare skin she could get at. Since it was hot and sunny day, she had the advantage because skin was on display in an attempt to get Vitamin D before the summer ended (Lo, Canadian summers are notoriously short eh!). Still we did manage to tame her somewhat. I gave up quite soon, but the other was far more competitive and wanted to ensure that he got enough cuts and wounds to show that he was braver, more pain-resistant and generally more macho than me. Fortunately, I have age and wisdom on my side and chose discretion over valour and swept away the winter's debris that had collected. Three large bags and two Slurpies and bags of chips later, all was done and I was released from community service. An exhausting weekend, but well worth it from my point of view as it kept the rolls somewhat at bay, but not for long.

Later in the week, there was an early morning meet up on the train to YVR. There I was, sleepy and yawning, and there he was, DWA, all chipper and excited at the thought of having coffee at the airport. Then the SOCK joined us, and we headed into the sterile zone past the ticketing agents, security and the INS and ran for the coffee near gate D81. We were on the way to Juneau you see. BKKB joined us at a more sedate pace, and eventually we got to Seattle, where a second breakfast was had, then onto the plane Northwards, over Vancouver, then past it, and on to Alaska. Back-tracking is never efficient, but sometimes it just has to be done.
Juneau where the cruise ships loom large over the mountains
Once in Juneau, we went for lunch, then to the boarding house where we had situated ourselves. We wandered the town, KB humped the mailboxes, the SOCK looked aghast and wondered why he was introducing us to his friends, then we went up Mt. Roberts Trail to the cross, then to the main lookout there before taking the tram back down. Walked up the steep hill to the boarding house because they wanted to be clean for dinner, walked down, went to Twisted Fish, then over to the Triangle Bar to meet Jules and BK's latest crush, T, got information about the SOCK - there were two times?! One not proper, and the other proper?! Who knew, and T told us about her favourite, favourite, favourite, favourite, most favourite spot in Juneau (Point Brigid), with the Medenhall Ice Caves a close second.

The result of following pink bits.
The next day, we headed out to the glacier while DWA went down to town to molest the locals. According to T, BK's latest best friend, in the winter you can hike across the lake to get to the glacier, but since it was June and practically summer (not really), she told us to go up the trail to a point where we were not supposed to go any further, and then look for the pink bits of tape tied onto trees and to follow those, and when it looked like we should go down, we were to go up instead, and where there was a river, we were to follow the river flow rather than against it, and then we'd see the caves, and it would be obvious, and it would be a glorious experience, but not as good as Brigid Point, her favourite, favourite, favourite, favourite, most favourite spot in Juneau. So we followed her instructions, found the pink bits and went up rather than down and found first the glacier, then the caves beneath the glacier. Quite, quite, quite beautiful. Cold and wet too, but really quite something to be in a structure that was ice, and could melt and fall down on you at any moment. It was quite lovely, the space even ruptured the space-time continuum as you can see in the picture below:
The SOCK disrupts the laws of time and physics
Then it was back out of the cave into the sun to dry out, and collect our breath, and have some lunch. We sat in the sun, but left quickly when this family came down the slopes, the father brandishing a large revolver at his waist. Why he was packing the gun was beyond us, but we didn't want to be perceived as a potential threat and be thought of as easy-pickings for target practice. Discretion and all that you know. So back out to the car where demands for cold drinks were made and the SOCK drove us to Fred Meyer (yes, apparently they're still in business) for the only Starbucks in Juneau where he had his drink filled with extra berries and I had my first ever Frapuccino which was an abomination in a kind of secret guilty pleasure kind of way. From there, met with DWA who was tired after chasing the locals up and down hills, went to the Hangar for dinner, then a quick stop to try and find T at the triangle - poor BK, his heart was broken for T didn't show up.

Cold drink anyone?
On Saturday, we drove (yeah!) out to the coast where we watched ducks and geese practice their formation flying for their migration to the South (already?!), then to the East side of the glacier where there was a huge waterfall, and a better view of the ice floes that had broken off the glacier and were floating around like an ice cube in a drink. After walking around the area avoiding the various bears from the cruise ships, we headed back to Fred's for lunch. There KB went off script with the lady at Starbucks and there ensued a most entertaining argument - he was arguing, she was staying on script and so it went. Don't even get into the logic of it. It was just a dumb argument, and Starbucks needs very badly to change their script and logic. The poor SOCK didn't get extra berries this time....Home, for a badly needed nap, then we were chivied into a little trail run up the SOCK's favourite, favourite, favourite, favourite, most favourite run along Perseverance Trail.

After that, we met with J from the Triangle and her consort for dinner at Tracy's King Crab Shack where the crabs were huge and delicious. Bisque (crab naturally) and cakes (crab naturally) were the side dishes and after eating and talking, we headed over to another local drinking establishment where we met A, who worked in the Juneau National Weather Service - he's an Elvis fan, and wears his glasses at a 45 degree angle over his face. When we first saw him, he had cigarette boxes (empty) over his ears to protect them from mosquito bites - probably quite effective as they covered his ears quite well, but it would have been no protection against Madam Pampas though. Then the rest of the night was a blur because I was tired. I do remember KB telling me some story that made him laugh so much he fell off the curb and rolled down the hill, and that's about it.

On Sunday, DWA and I had breakfast while BK and the SOCK went back up the trails for another run, then over to the airport, down to Seattle for a long wait and some silly data roaming (very silly). I wandered the entire airport with DWA then met up with the others who'd gone down to Seattle for roasted garlic and pizza. Got on the plane, and headed back home and the little shoebox. And that is what happened after Edmonton dear readers, and now it's time to do something useful with my life. Not that I really want to.

I have some huge bills coming up so the plan is now to get myself a irrigation system as a little last minute extravagance then to freeze the card and use only cash until I return from KCH in July. Yes, that's the plan. The plan, the plan....oh dear. It will be back to instant noodles again I fear.