IMG_2569 Ketchikan is Alaska’s First City, the first city along the Inside Passage and our first stop on the cruise. A lovely town, wet though, they get an average of 200 inches of rain a year! Their record rainfall was 202.55 inches in 1949! Can you imagine that much rain!? Their average low in January is 32.6* and high in July 57.5*. In the 2010 census the population was at 8,050 and it is the fifth-most populated town in Alaska. Flat near the harbor the land slowly starts raising up and a lot of homes are built going up the side of a hill or mountain. Everyone parks on the street in front of their house and most of them have several sets of steps up to the house from the road. The houses seemed crowded into each other. We noticed that because it is so wet there the houses and even old cars that haven’t moved in awhile were covered with green algae or something. The roofs of houses had thick moss like growth on them. You would have to be ‘on top’ of that I would think to keep your roof in good condition! I took several pictures of neighborhoods as we walked around outside of the ‘touristy’ area… IMG_2546

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I thought you might find that more interesting than the usual pictures you see in the tourist brochures! The downtown tourist shopping area, we found out quickly, is mostly jewelry stores! Very geared towards the cruise line ships. All of the towns along the Inside Passage were like that. A local jeweler in Skagway told us the cruise lines get kickbacks from the jewelry stores. On board they give a ‘shopping’ event where a gal tells you about all the jewelry stores and which stones are hot right now and gives coupons for free items to get you in. In a tiny town like Ketchikan there were multiple stores of the same brand of jewelers! We were a little disappointed.  We walked the back town streets and observed local life as best we could. Here are the photos from ‘downtown’… IMG_2530


Creek Street




Gilmore building and hotel. built in 1927 oldest hotel in Ketchikan

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We went in a small museum, Tongass Museum. It had some lovely exhibits of Tlingit native clothing and baskets etc. There was also a museum about totem poles which we didn’t go in.


This is all tiny beadwork!


An interesting day in all. They did have one small bookstore, Parnassus Books & Gifts. I picked up a free bookmark, that was all. There is a museum of Dolly’s house, she was the notorious ‘madame’ in town. She willed her house to be shown as a museum and it is just as she left it. It’s in bad repair, water stains on the walls and ceiling, but it was really like walking back in time. There are many personal photos scattered around and some stories the guide told us about. There are so many photos already in this post, I’ll do a post just on Dolly’s House.

I’ll leave you with a picture of a couple of Ketchikan natives!

Creepy Head Update

Well, I did take the pictures of the ‘head’ to my local Greeneville police department and it really got them buzzing over there! They thought it was a head too. They called the Elizabethton police and sent the pictures to several people and got my info. This morning the Elizabethton city police called me and got directions to where we saw it again as they were all jumbled from Greeneville. She said that area would be county police and they were forwarding it to them. They were going out today and check it out and she would call me with what they found. They also really thought it could be a head. Late this afternoon she called and it was a head…. a mannequin head! Thank goodness! A prank just like Bossman said. It was really high up in the tree, down a steep hill. It took some work to get it up there. The police said they were surprised I was the only call they got on it as it really did look like a real head from a distance. They are sending someone out to remove it. I’m getting to old for all this excitement!

What is this?

Okay, this is just creepy! We threw a picnic lunch in the car this morning and headed out to explore Watauga Lake and Dam up near Elizabethton and found this at a scenic overlook. Something hanging in a tree down the hill. We couldn’t tell what it was. I thought some kind of hornets nest or something. Boss man wouldn’t walk down to look so I took a couple of shots zoomed in with the camera so we could take a good look on the computer when we got home. I swear it looks like a human head! It appears to be tied on the branch by some of the hair. 

Don’t you think it looks like a head? Bossman said there were no flys or bugs swarming around it so he thinks it’s nothing. A real mystery that will drive me nuts now! 

Murder Anonymous

by E.X. Ferrars
first published 1978

2737073‘Matthew Tierney unexpectedly comes into a tidy sum of money. Reason: the bonds of his marriage are broken by murder. He discovers his wife’s strangled body on the living room floor, and after long minutes of numbing shock, he phones the police – and quickly learns that his less-than-perfect marriage has made him the perfect suspect. To get away from it all he travels to the lovely seaside resort where his wife often vacationed. But Matthew did not travel alone. His companion was murder number two and all the evidence points again toward Matthew Tierney.’


This was an excellently plotted mystery with believable characters and good suspects. I read it in one day. Very absorbing. I expect nothing less from Ferrars. Every book I’ve ever read by her is excellent! I did not guess whodunnit!

This fulfills the Jewelry category on the Silver Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt @ My Reader’s Block.



First Stop, Seattle

Our first stop on the great Alaska trip was Seattle, Washington. We flew out of Pittsburgh, PA as we went back home for Bossman to golf with his league so we just flew out from there. We had a connecting flight at Chicago O’Hare which we missed due to inclement weather! That was a new experience for me. No worries though they got right on the next flight out and we only had to wait three hours. It did cut into our time in Seattle though. We thought we were going to arrive there at 9:30 a.m and have all day but we didn’t get in until close to 1:30. By the time we got to the hotel, checked in, ate and found the metro it was getting close to suppertime and Pikes Place Market would be closed by the time we got there so we missed out on that. We did get to the Space Needle which was what Bossman really wanted to do and we had a lovely stroll around downtown. It’s a lovely town. Wish we would have had more time.

First I want to show you my excellent packing! I was so proud of myself! I am a notorious over-packer. I’ve been watching all those videos on you-tube about how to pack minimal and I was determined to do it this trip. We only took carry-on luggage and I got more than two weeks worth of clothing (mind you layering clothing for cold or warm weather!) in my carry-on using the methods on the videos! Check it out…

FullSizeRender 26That’s 5 pairs of pants, 12 shirts, 2 cardigans, a fleece pullover, 2 pairs of pajamas, a winter coat and hat, sandals, 2 dresses, an extra small purse, socks, underwear and my toiletries! I layered and rolled. Amazing what you can get in a small case that way. I ended up having to unpack Bossman’s and do that with his stuff so he could get his coat in. Good thing we took coats as it was cold and we wore them everyday! I was glad we did carry-on since we missed our connecting flight. It would have been terrible if our luggage didn’t make it with us on the ship!

We’ll start with the Space Needle. I’ve been in Seattle long, long ago and saw it but I don’t remember it really well. I was a kid. It was $30 a person to go up and long lines. We didn’t feel it was worth the $60 for the two of us after we got up there, but we can say we did it I guess.

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IMG_2259 Views from up top… IMG_2257 IMG_2230 IMG_2226 IMG_2225fullsizeoutput_521

Scenes from around town. Lots of neon signs, felt sort of retro…

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Monorail runs through town

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Gorgeous trimmings on old buildings and lots of retro looking apartment blogs. Fun city. Would like to go back and spend more time. There are lots of coffee shops and outside cafes. Of course Seattle is known for where Starbucks started and that delicious coffee Seattle’s Best.

And last but not least the majestic Mt. Rainier that towers in the backdrop! fullsizeoutput_527

Thursday Afternoons

by Monica Dickens
first published in 1945

FullSizeRender-4‘Successful, admired, fairly happily married and ambitious, Steven Sheppard is very much a pillar of the community. But inside him lurks a little demon of boredom which prompts him to ask if there isn’t more to life than this.’

My first Monica Dickens book. A little slow to start, but before I knew it I was reeled into these peoples lives in the hospital and medical clinics! A simple straightforward story centered around charismatic Dr. Steven Sheppard and his practice and his Thursday afternoons as Honorary Physician at St. Margaret hospital. Set in 1939 with impending war the main topic of conversation. Dr. Sheppard is successful, well liked and sought after yet he feels put upon and that something is lacking. Life should offer him more. Maybe if he only had more time to himself it would improve. Maybe he could that book he’s been working on finished. Maybe if he enlists in the Navy for the war and gets stationed on a ship out to sea he might have time to himself.

Full of lovely characters…
Ruth, his over dependent wife
Nurse Lake, madly in love with the doctor and prone to wild fantastic daydreams about him and her!
Young Potter, practicing to be a doctor under Dr. Sheppard
Marion Marshall (the woman Dr. Sheppard should have married) and her husband George
Mrs. Garrard and her son Tom, hiding from an abusive husband, now a maid in his house
Stephanie, his friend the publisher’s secretary and his new girlfriend
Lots of wonderful patients and last but not least, Ugly the dog and Dr. Sheppards best pal!

The ending was very dramatic and very surprising! To abrupt and left me feeling very unsatisfied with the read. I’m not sure why she ended it this way and it will give me pause for thought for sometime I think. Have you read it and what did you think of the ending? I will definitely read more of her books though, I liked her way with words. Here’s a couple little samples of why …

‘As Steven was getting the car out of the garage, with Ugly shouting directions from the back seat,”

‘The outer door opened and a tall man with untidy grey hair and thick-rimmed spectacles came in. His mouth had spoken so many millions of words in its day that it was a flexible as old machinery belting.”

My copy is a Mermaid Book published in 1954. I had never come across one of these type books before and it was one of the main reasons I picked it up. It is a board type book put out by publisher Michael Joseph. I can’t find anything about them online. This is what is printed in the front of the book ..

Mermaid Books
During the last few years a new delight in brightness and color has emerged – a delight which deserves to grow and prosper. To catch this spirit for book production is one of the aims of Mermaid Books. The literary quality of the books themselves is naturally always the decisive factor: but the conviction behind the production of Mermaid Books is that books at a low price can look more attractive, more colorful, without sacrifice of dignity or durability. This conviction has been amply confirmed by the warm welcome given to the titles published so far.

Have you every came across one of these books? Have you read any Monica Dickens and which one would you recommend?