and...she's off! my girl left this afternoon for alaska with my parents and grandmother. my heart aches for her already but with equal portions of happiness for her time with her grandparents, and the ability to begin to stretch into the world independently. she knows the ship and the tour, and will do one excursion on her own, the zipline in ketchican. 
we tried to catch her ship from the golden gate, but the fog would have none of it. we headed home, cold, after spending all day in the city waiting for that moment. :( at least matthew caught a glimpse of the ship for us as we crossed the bay bridge. and chinatown was a good place to spend time with him.