Scott & Melissa; May 28, 2005

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Wedding and Honeymoon Photos Now Available!
Posted by Scott Bradford -- Tuesday, July 12, 2005, 8:18 AM

(Crossposted from my blog.)

Great news! We received the CDs with our wedding photos last night, and after Melissa feverishly sorted out the ones she wanted on the site and I feverishly resized and posted them we are now ready to share them with the world.

There are over 1,000 photos -- the official wedding photos, the disposable camera photos, photos from friends, and a plethora of photos from the honeymoon -- so it may take some time to see everything.

You can enter our wedding photo gallery through the Wedding Photos Page of the Wedding Website.

Where are the Wedding Photos?
Posted by Scott Bradford -- Wednesday, June 29, 2005, 6:06 PM

(Crossposted from my blog.)

Melissa and I have been busy getting literally thousands of photos together, sorted, and uploaded so that we can share them with you. We've installed a gallery management system on the wedding website behind-the-scenes, but want to get a lot more organized and posted before we open it for business. There are about 1500 'official' wedding photos from Bella that will need to be sorted (they should be arriving on CD soon), and Melissa is still trudging through about the same number of shots from the Honeymoon ... so bear with us.

If you took pictures and want to share, you have two options. First, you can send me/hand me a CD with your pictures and I can post them along with the million others that will be on the wedding site. Second, you can post them somewhere else however you like and ask me to put a link on the wedding site (there are already two of those, if you haven't noticed).

When the gallery is ready to go, it will be well linked and announced on the wedding site and Off on a Tangent. I have no clear estimate on when that will be yet ;-).

...We made Santa's naughty list!
Posted by Melissa Lew -- Tuesday, June 14, 2005, 12:54 PM

...We had reindeer sausage! Well, it was a mixture of reindeer and caribou.

And it was good. :-D

We got back from Anchorage around 6am yesterday morning - left Anchorage at 2pm (their time), got to San Francisco at 8pm (their time - and they had a sushi bar!), left San Francisco at 10pm (their time), got to Dulles at 6am (our time). Whew. Let me tell you, you meet/see/hear (unfortunately) some interesting people in the airports - it makes you laugh in a haha (that's not good...smack head with hand) kind of way. :-p It's all good though - overall, the trip was absolutely wonderful!

Anchorage was extremely fun - we relaxed a lot, weren't in a hurry, etc. When we first arrived in Anchorage, we checked into the hotel, settled in a little, then went out to explore. No real plans, just went out to see the city. As far as size, Anchorage reminded me a little of Lynchburg city. Soon, I noticed that there were art galleries EVERYWHERE (yay!) - Scott mentioned to me that Anchorage was the central art area of Alaska - then I remembered Susan Share (pop up/performance book artist) lived in the area! Didn't see her, but saw all sorts of beautiful local art. Met a really nice lady in one of the art stores - had a nice long conversation, bought a magazine on use of metal clay to make art (excited, that's what I used for the bridesmaids' necklaces). We grabbed lunch at this tiny seafood place - we both had halibut chowder (mmm) and he had a seafood sandwich, and I had a halibut filet. Very good. We also walked by the railroad station (I wish I could go in, run around, and take photos), and through the park near the water.

After a good night's sleep, we went exploring again - the weekend market was open for business and it was SOOO's like...a good Centerfest (with almost no children) EVERY weekend:) (notice I said good). The atmosphere was wonderful - it was bustling and full of life. And they had NEAT stuff! I found a unique business card holder at the Vietnamese stand, along with a hand carved sandstone lotus, and on an excited whim, I bought 2 huge bamboo rice bowls to use in my installation art. I don't know what for, but I bought Scott was dragging them back to the hotel room (heh), he asked how I would get them home...oops. Luckily, I was able to pack them (the bowls) in my suitcase, surrounded by all my clothing, and they made it home OK, though I'm pretty sure, battered by the TSA (kicking and throwing the suitcases around - made me cringe each time).

One of the neatest things I saw was this tiny hand painted box in the Russian art store - it would have made a perfect business card holder, except that I wouldn't put an almost $300 art piece in my purse. (I spent $8 in the one in the market) If I had bought that, I would have to put it out somewhere, NOT in my purse. It was made of paper mache (put in a mold and under pressure to make as solid/hard as wood), and hand painted with a 2 bristle brush. Wow. When I heard the price, I knew it wasn't going to buy it for my purse! The woman proceeded to justify the price and I had to stop her - I understood, I'm an artist too - for something handmade like that, the price was reasonable. I didn't want her to feel bad - I would love to have it, but not for the purpose I originally thought for it.

After grabbing lunch at a local pizza place (that stromboli for 1 that Scott got should never be eaten by 1 person in 1 sitting...ugh...he said it was good, but it was WAY too big), and after I ran to a local outdoors store to get bug spray and afterbite (the stealth mosquitos were eating me alive, and not touching Scott AT ALL - it was all that fruit I ate on the ship :-p) - I couldn't get deet because of my would eat the casing - I got some herbal stuff that sort of worked, we went to the Alaska Zoo - got some really good photos (and as I was taking them, the mosquitos ate my hands alive - you have to keep them steady to get good photos)...

The funniest was the polar bear. As I was standing there, he started walking up towards me (I took photos the entire time). After I finished taking the photos I wanted, I walked away from my spot directly in front of him. A bunch of people went to that spot to hopefully get a photo, and he saw them and turned his back to them, lol. I guess he was Ok with a couple photos, but didn't want anymore - I swear animals are smarter than we give them credit for - that was just funny.

The dall sheep were the same way, if they saw a camera, they would run off. A lot of the animals were nocturnal - they were cute as they slept. There was one neurotic animal that wouldn't stop running in circles - he accidentally slipped into his bucket of water, got out, and kept running.

After the zoo, we went back to the hotel to relax, especially since Scott would be working again on Monday afternoon (luckily at home). While Scott slept soundly through the night, I woke up a few times to take a cold shower to make the mosquito bites stop itching...they're still itching today. I absolutely love Alaska - and I'm going to make sure the next time we're there, to have heavy duty bug spray and gloves :-p...though the mosquitos did bite through my shoes...through my jeans...and through a few layers of clothing! I got the true Alaskan experience ;) (Scott found an iron on patch in the airport that said "bite me" with a huge mosquito - we had to get it)

Boy...I miss the weather already. It's over 90 degrees right now outside in Fairfax.

Juneau, Haines, Hubbard, and more!
Posted by Scott Bradford -- Thursday, June 9, 2005, 4:32 PM

First, yes, I've heard the strange news from the Macintosh world; apparently, Apple will be switching to Intel processors starting with some models next year. I got this information from a little newspaper that we get free on the ship, but it's a digest of the New York Times so it may be partially- or wholly-fictional. If true, I need more information before I can tell you what I think ... but I am aware that something is afoot with my preferred platform.

If the hotel in Anchorage has free internet, I'll at least do a little research on a free evening.

Things are still going wonderfully up here in Alaska. On Tuesday, we were in Juneau -- the state's capital city -- for a long day. Scott S. (who I'm named after and lives in Juneau) graciously arranged for Melissa and me to borrow his church's passes for the Mt. Roberts tram, which goes up the mountain and affords an amazing view of the city and the surrounding area. Once up there we did a half-mile hike or so. We also got to see a Bald Eagle up close (she had been permanently injured when she got caught in power lines and electrocuted, so she could not be returned to the wild) -- beautiful bird. Thanks Scott, and we're sorry our schedules didn't match up enough for us to actually see you!

After doing Mt. Roberts in the morning, we walked around Juneau for a while. The statehouse is open to the public, so we got some cool pictures of me sitting in committee meeting rooms with the Alaska seal and such. I enjoyed that part, but I'm a government nerd. Then we had lunch back on the ship. Juneau, by the way, was the first Alaskan city we'd seen that was big enough to need traffic lights!

In the afternoon, we took a bus up to the Mendenhall Glacier, which (to my knowledge) was my first time seeing a glacier. It was pretty awesome, as was the neighboring waterfall. Melissa took about 8 billion pictures -- gigabytes worth that she's been downloading to my laptop and burning to CDs). We didn't get to see any calving (big pieces falling off), but it was nonetheless beautiful and awe-inspiring. I got a sunburn while we were out all day, but nothing too bad.

Leaving Juneau, we saw something quite funny. We were standing on the bow of the ship and watching as we left the harbor, and we noticed a bonfire on the shore. As we watched, we noticed that some people (presumably young, stupid people) were going up and down a flat area of the shore in a pickup-truck and driving through a giant puddle. Every so often, we would hear jubilant screams across the water as the truck hit the water and made a giant splash.

Ah, the insanity. Driving through a giant puddle near a bonfire to impress passing cruise passengers. I love it.

From Juneau, we went up to Haines on Wednesday. The town was very small, but we still walked around for a bit and explored Fort Seward, an old U.S. military fort. The fort was built to defend U.S. claims in a border dispute with, of all countries, Canada (obviously the dispute never led to war ;-)).

While Haines was a little sparse, the scenery was gorgeous (as it has been all throughout Alaska). The town is surrounded by towering, snow-covered mountains and cascading waterfalls from mountain runoff and melting snow.

Today, we arrived at the Hubbard Glacier -- possibly the most beautiful, majestic sight yet on our tour. The ship pulled up very close to the glacier this morning and we watched it for a few hours as huge pieces calved and fell into the bay. The glacier is miles long and the bay itself was filled with ice and the whole place was surrounded by mountains and snow. Again, Melissa took a seemingly infinite number of photos. I can definitely see why Alaska is referred to as 'God's country.'

And I've only talked about off-ship stuff! On board, the food and service continues to be excellent. I think I've gained a good ten or fifteen pounds in crab, salmon, and other delicious dishes on board. On Tuesday, there was a dessert bar in one of the dining rooms that probably contained enough calories to feed me for a month. Then, after dinner last night, we had Baked Alaska (yum!) for dessert.

This afternoon, we're at sea on the way to Seward where we'll disembark from the ship tomorrow morning and hop a bus transfer to Anchorage. There we'll hang out for a couple of days (don't quite know what we'll be doing yet) before leaving Sunday afternoon for home (and not arriving until Monday morning).

We really are having a great time. We don't worry about things, we just relax, enjoy the sights, take pictures (in Melissa's case), and -- well -- relax some more. After months of worrying about the wedding and graduations and job searches and so on and so on, it is so wonderful to just chill out and enjoy some new scenery and each other's company.

Anyway, it's time for lunch (you east-coasters just subtract 4 hours from your time to get the time here), and this may be the last you hear from us if internet access is not provided at the hotel in Anchorage. If that's the case, I'll have a lot of updating to do next week; otherwise, I'll see about posting something tomorrow!

Having a great time!
Posted by Melissa Lew -- Monday, June 6, 2005, 8:39 PM

6/5/2005, 7:00am
Today, we arrived at our first stop (Ketchikan) - it's a small fishing village that used to be a main hub during the gold rush (which happened in Alaska after California's supply ran low). Hopefully will be getting some good photographs today. I haven't used my medium format camera - the digital one seems easier to grab...and I couldn't find my tripod before I left Fairfax (it ran away!) - so I might take it ashore today if I see an especially photogenic moment.

We'll see how that goes.

There's a bunch of stuff I want to do today, besides taking photos - apparently, it's a gemstone shopping town - and there are places giving out free diamond charm bracelets, etc to cruise people. LOL. I wonder what the catch is. I also need to pick up the photos taken last night by the cruise photographers (it was formal night - Scott wore a suit and I wore my new pink corset strapless dress...with my new Swarovski bracelet and chandelier earrings - I found decent clip ons!). At dinner, they sang us a filipino love/celebration song of some sort and gave us a little cake with a candle - I guess our 1 week anniversary? It was really nice. I need to remember to try to find the smoked Pacific salmon for mom who's been wanting some.

It's been a fun last couple days on the ship - yesterday, before the formal, I went to the spa and got a massage and lime & ginger salt rub - She was able to work out that muscle problem I was having with my legs after the wedding. I don't know what happened, but my calves hurt so bad after the wedding (it was hard to stand up), which was absolutely crazy, because I've stood longer in those shoes before! Maybe it was because I was concentrating so hard on not locking my knees. I also went to the gym...the food here is so good, I'm worried what it will do to my thighs! 4-5 course dinners every night?! That's dangerous! We're going to miss tonight's - church is at 5:30pm, so we're going to grab something at one of the other restaurants on this ship...Or just order room service again!

As far as Vancouver went, it was overall just relaxing (minus one part which I will get to in a moment). My favorite part was Victoria and the gardens. The tour guide, "You can call me Al" was just hilarious. We didn't get to do much because our bodies were exhausted from getting up at 3am to get to the airport on Wednesday - but it was nice, we got to relax. Of course, I found sushi the first night I was there :). On the second day, we did the Victoria tour (this time, for dinner, we got sushi and other various Japanese in Victoria and Scott learned how to use chopsticks!!!!! I'm so proud of him and I got pictures!) and Al dropped us off in Chinatown - which definitely wasn't a highlight - the Chinatown I remembered...wasn't there anymore. It was run down, places closed early, opened much later. Much sadness. Never got Chinese food because they were never OPEN when we were there. That's OK, I'm a little sad about that, but I can still get dim sum and baked goods in DC. Guess I got a little spoiled by the availability of the one in DC and the size of the one in NYC.

6/5/2005, 3:00pm
Ketch-me-if-you-kan (haha - sorry Scott, had to say it again) is a cute quaint little town (it's really crazy the amount of stairs in that town - they've even named some stairs as the continuation of streets). We had breakfast at Lido's before heading off the ship (how great is that - smoked salmon, fruit, and bread for breakfast), then proceeded to walk all over town. We stopped at some of the stores that advertised free items - chintzy diamond charm bracelet, color changing ring (I'm saving it for Britt - it's a tiny little heart ring that is clear indoors, and changes to a pinkish orange in the sun - hopefully I won't lose it before I get back), etc. I got the charm for Ketchikan for the free bracelet - something silly as a souvenir - $5 for the first one, then all the rest free - eventually when we travel to those places). Ketchikan's is the salmon because it is the number 1 producer of salmon in Alaska - number 1 fishing town? Very touristy - not very many naturalistic photo opportunities close to the ship - I'm sure if you paid a ton of money and went on one of their excursions, you would see them. I can't wait until we leave port - I'm sure there will be another beautiful sunset. The glaciers will be beautiful. (P.S. - mom I found you a pack of smoke cured (not the chemically cured crap) sockeye salmon as you requested). It's been a nice day - we've been lounging all over the ship since we've come back. Scott's reading and seems to be quite enjoying himself.

Well gotta go - church is at 5:30, and I want to go look at the photos taken over the last few days of us (especially the formals last night) before that. After the church service, we're heading to dinner at Lido's again (you should see their dessert buffet!), then hopefully heading for a long walk around the ship (to walk off the dinner). The sunset is at 9:56pm tonight, so I'll probably be taking photos then. Hopefully a sunrise tomorrow (5:22am)? We'll be in Sitka tomorrow at 7am - hopefully more photo opportunities (most Russian like town in Alaska?)

Hope all is well back home and in Bedford :)! It's probably about 7pm-ish there.

6/6/2005, 7:00am
The church service was really nice last night - a Catholic priest did the service because I guess the ship couldn't find anyone else to do it. We actually had dinner with the priest - he invited us to sit down when he saw us looking for a seat. He was quite knowledgeable of the arts - he mentioned Jackson Pollock, and knew who Rothko was when I mentioned him. Wow. We had a nice evening. Oh, and our portraits came back from the formal night and the first evening - I bought both:).

The wake up call system is all goofed. Scott set it for 5am, it went off at 4am, and we didn't realize it until we were out the door. Doh.

I'm actually glad it did that - the sunrise happened earlier than the estimated time the ship gave us (though I wondered why the printout I had - I looked it up before leaving Fairfax - had 4am-ish for the time.

While not spectacular, the sunrise was still beautiful. Yes I took tons of photos (I'm actually uploading them from my card while I type this update).

I saw a volcano earlier but didn't take a photo - it was neat - the top was curved like it had blown it's top. Duh, that's how I knew it was a volcano.

We had room service breakfast again:) So yummy. How much fruit can Melissa eat before leaving?! :-D

Fruit...and fish...mmm.

Pretty soon, we'll be anchoring down in Sitka - we have to take a smaller boat from the ship to the shore because they can't dock. Sitka, from what I've seen, is beautiful! I can't wait to go to Swan Lake and that old Russian Church (it has the spire onion type roof). It'll be beautiful. Hopefully I'll be able to use my medium format camera for the lake. I hope I'll see some animals today (other than seagulls and fish).

We'll probably spend much of the morning/early afternoon in Sitka, then head back, relax some more, then head to dinner (yummy 5 course meal in the Rotterdam dining room - we have a honeymoon table!)...More to update later I'm sure!

6/6/2005, 4:00pm
Just woke up from a nap - I was tired after getting up at 4am, and then walking all over Sitka. I can definitely see the Russian influence, and the scenery was beautiful. Swan Lake wasn't much to look at compared to what we've seen already. We went to the Sitka National Park, which had an awesome totem pole trail. Al was right - there are a lot of totem poles here...And I saw eagles today!!!

Tomorrow is Juneau! Now off to run, then to get ready for dinner. Bye!



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