1-23-13 Wednesday (4 Is Better Than 1)

Saturday night was another Restaurant Week event.  7 of us went to Alton’s Kitchen for dinner.  We picked this place because we’ve been there for brunch and they pulled that off really well.  Here’s the Restaurant Week menu: 


Jim and I shared both of our meals.  We had the mushrooms and nachos. The nachos were good; the mushrooms were amazing.  Jim ordered the filet and I had the NY Strip.  The strip was so flavorful.  The filet was good but Ruth’s Chris does a better job.

On Sunday it was off to Chima.  We love Chima.  Last year we went twice!  It was 6 of us and that seems like the perfect number.  When we’ve had 8 in the past, the table was a huge round table and it was hard to have conversation with opposing sides.  Anyway, for 2 of us, it was our first time.  Beth and her brother David seemed to have loved it as much as we do! 

Monday, Jim went to work while I went grocery shopping and such.  It was a holiday for me. 

Tuesday started my new position as Underwriter.  It was day 1, week 1 of a long 6 week training process.  The class was mixed with mostly existing employees of my bank with a few people who had come from other banks.  Most of the day was spent getting employee numbers, access, security badges and all that stuff.  Pretty uneventful.  Oddly, the class has 4 trainers.  They teach different aspects of the curriculum although at least 3 of the 4 have actually done this job in the past.  I’ve been told by Beth, our friend who is also an underwriter at Big Bank that there’s a lot of trainers because as we get more into it, they’ll be helping us while we do sample underwriting.

An interesting thing, or maybe not, but we moved to Charlotte because Jim was offered a job here as an underwriter at Big Bank.  He started January 11th 2010 in the same building and classroom as I did.  Beth was in Jim’s class which is how they met.  Jim doesn’t work there anymore but we’re still friends with Beth and now I see her at work.  Crazy, I know.

On Friday it will be 10 years since our first cruise.  We’re planning one for a summer cruise to Alaska. It will be a first for us.  I’ve been doing a lot of research.  I’ve been “interviewing” friends (Thanks Amy Francis!) who have been on Alaskan cruises previously and of course consulting with our AAA travel agent extraordinaire, Ruby. We’re not deadset on this but the ship will probably be the Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas

  • We like Royal Caribbean AND it would make our 5th cruise with them which will give us future perks. 
  • They also offer specialty dining.  The kind where you pay $25 “cover” to dine at the awesome onboard restaurants.  We’ve done a few of those on previous cruises and have found them to be exceptional. On this ship they offer a $75 a person dining package that gives us 4 specialty restaurants for a discount.
  • It was built in 2001 but remodeled in 2011.  We’re kind of spoiled with our last 5 cruises because the ships we sailed were less than a year old.


If you noticed, it doesn’t take us round trip.  It was one of the few combinations that allowed us to visit the ports we want plus the Hubbard Glacier.  We were thinking of going from Seward to Fairbanks in hopes of catching the Northern Lights however the add-on is very expensive.  Speaking of price, an Ocean View category cabin is only $1000 a person.  Airfare is only $650 or so each.  There will be other expenses but they’re marginal in comparison.  Any thoughts?


  1. I've never been on an Alaskan cruise, but many of my customers have. Everyone loved it!

  2. My former in-laws went on two Alaska cruises, which they loved, but I have no idea what ship/cruise line or which ports they visited. I've heard nothing but good things about these cruises from a couple of other people too.

    1. Thanks! I think we're pretty much decided. I've been doing a lot of research here and there.

  3. I don't think you mentioned the dates of the cruise. I would check if there are Northern Lights seen during the summer. I don't know if I would go to Fairbanks, but I would definitely suggest you stop at Denali Nat'l Park and take the park buses to at least the Eilston(sp)Visitor Center. Catch the earliest bus that you can and sit up front near the driver for the best views. When I was there they were using school buses for the 8 hour trip into the park and they stopped every time wildlife was sighted so you can take pictures (can't get out of the bus though until you get to the visitor center for a stopover before coming back.)We had a grizzly bear walk right beside the bus after it chased a moose out of the bushes.

    1. Thanks Gene! I love seeing wildlife! We've never seen a bear or a moose in the wild. We're planning toward the end of August.


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