Nothing like trying to log in to a video conference from a ship floating somewhere in the Caribbean.
It worked. Sort of. Maybe.
Otherwise worked on my paper and did a bit of cross stitch.
Nothing like trying to log in to a video conference from a ship floating somewhere in the Caribbean.
It worked. Sort of. Maybe.
Otherwise worked on my paper and did a bit of cross stitch.
are key underpinnings of the military. Without them, the team doesn’t function. In high risk situations, people can die. And not the enemy, but your own.
This is a rant. Skip it, if for some reason you think a president pardoning someone for posing with a person as a hunting trophy is all right.
In which case, I am afraid you and I don’t have much in common. I thoroughly believe that all of us have a responsibility to leave this world a better place than we found it. That involves creating all people with dignity and respect. You and I may not agree on a lot of things, but I firmly believe you have a right to your opinion. If that opinion makes you my enemy, then I will shoot back if you shoot at me. I spent too many years as a military officer not to defend myself. But still, you are a person acting on your beliefs. Treating your enemy’s corpse with disrespect is not done. Not only is it outside the law of war, it is the act of animal (and most scavengers eat the remains).
I always thought the US was better than that. We prosecuted Mai Lai. We don’t shoot unarmed civilians, in fact we are even starting to hold police officers who do that accountable for their actions. We still have the shame of Gitmo which may well be a blight on our country and history for decades.
When fellow team members turn in a Seal for going beyond the limits, for acting unprofessionally, for posing an enemy corpse as a trophy, we need to respect their request for the military justice system to investigate, act, and disciple if appropriate. That courts martial found reason to reduce the petty office. That should stand; the judgement, like all others of that severity due to rank and years of service will be reviewed as per regulation. It should not be flippantly over turned because “it isn’t fair.”
What that man did was a disgrace to his fellow Seals, the Navy, and all of us in uniform. We have to be able to count on the system. Our allies have to be able to count on us to police our own. Commanders have to have the ability to count on order and disciple in the ranks in order to accomplish any assigned mission and bring everyone home safely.
Seriously, I thought we, the US, were better than that: that someone with power but no military background would do something so awful. An act, trigged by who knows what, that will have far and long reaching consequences.
Think about it at the next election. Is this a person you would trust with your life, your child’s life, your grandchild’s life if they can so blithely do what seems to be politically expedient without any understanding of the long term implications. Or, as one of George’s colleagues said – if this man was the preacher on the pulpit – are his morals those of yours? Would you attend?
It doesn’t have to be large and obvious – it could be as small and polite as this pin
or larger and more flamboyant like these
This is not a day for going shopping, dealing with holiday decorations (hello? for those in the US – Thanksgiving isn’t even over!) or those idiots who are trying to capitalize on individuals service for their own personal gain.
“Thank you for your service” has become trite. Most say it with about as much meaning as people greet with “how are you doing?” Few really mean it, want an answer. In the US, it has become a pro forma way of passing off obligation to others. No, I agree that when one is created by someone who means it, you can tell. When you are greeted by someone else who has a family connection to the military, when someone recognizes that it is not only men that serve. I will save my American Legion rant for another day.
The US attitude toward the military has undergone a remarkable change since I was in high school and University. That was the time of the Viet Nam War. Patriots served, most of the men in my High School served. Being found unfit, in that rural area, was not a matter of pride (as it seems to have been for those with money in other areas of the country). At University, it was another world. Most of the young men in my classes were on academic deferments, a serious motivation to study. Protests ran often and deeply divided the campus. Even the International Folk Dance group, a non-political gaggle if there ever was one, had a serious discussion about continuing to use the Armory for the weekly dances. As no other space was available on Tuesday evening, political feelings took a back seat to practicality.
In the late 70s, post Viet Nam, when I joined the Army Reserves, being a part of the military was totally and completely unthought of. Why would anyone do that? The war is over. I had a slightly different attitude, spurred by school loans and a decision that those who served deserved health care. That and it would be a chance for someone else to pay me to get out of Minnesota at least once a year.
Seems rather superficial, now that I think about it from 41 years down the line. On the other hand, I doubt that everyone has completely altruistic reasons for their choices. But in 2013, two years after the Army invited me to retire, I was in Esperance, Western Australia. It was Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veteran’s Day – whatever you want to call it. Esperance is that Australian town which, in 1979, fined NASA for littering after the Sky Lab broke up and dropped pieces all over their town. It is also a place where knowledge and connection to WWI runs deeply.
I wrote about it then.* The experience of standing with veterans from Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada. Talking to a woman who had deep ties to the area. Standing with other women who had served their countries. It made a difference to me, and I think it made a difference to others, knowing that, even in your small town which others might considered off the western edge of nowhere, that serving our respective countries binds us all together. That moment of silence, a chance for reflection.
So, for my fellow service members, wear your poppy with pride in recognition of all those generations prior to ours who served our respective countries. For everyone else, if you want to thank someone, be sincere and think about what you are saying. Better yet, wear a poppy today and tomorrow, reach out and do something positive. Participate at one of the cemetery clean-ups. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, deliver meals, reach out to those families you know with a member deployed. Bring my world a little closer to yours.
* the absence of pictures from posts prior to 2015 is a result of moving servers from Germany to the US. When the Germany site came down, the links were broken. I have to find the old picture archives and upload those one by one by one.. and .. there are other things that are higher on the priority list.
stands for Student Veteran’s Organization. UCHastings has almost 900 students in total. Less than 30 are veterans. Think about it for a second. This is well under the number at other schools in the area. The rejoinder might he that law school is specialized and there just might not be all that many who are interested. I could accept that, but for the fact that there are more at Golden Gate. The Academy of the Arts (which is private, and admittedly in another field) has over 900 veteran’s. UCBerkeley has over 400, which, with all the schools combined is over 1%. 22 is not 1%.
Several of us think there are multiple factors contributing: lack of faculty who are veterans, lack of support at the school, and an obvious anti-military bias at the executive level.
Why am I bringing all of this up?
The current president of the local chapter organized a luncheon yesterday and asked the former chair of UCHastings Board of Directors to be a keynote speaker (former Navy Officer – used the GI bill for law school). He also twisted my arm into saying a few words. The attendance was sparse – former navy, army, Air Force, and coast guard totally about 10 plus three from the student veteran support office at SFVA, one rep from UCSF and two from UCBerkeley. The new student Dean is incredibly supportive, the school dean seriously less so. There was food, I was appreciative of the chance to meet a couple of the new students and reconnect with a number who I knew from last year.
Oh, what did I say? A bit of history about Armistice Day vs Veteran’s Day. How the holiday was viewed in other countries and a reminder about what the poppy stood for. (after all – what good is a forum if I don’t sell poppies?)
But the best? I received this from Jill later in the day –
For those of us who travel and are at all sociable, you collect friends around the world. If you don’t travel, but have professional interests–likely the same. For all the fiber fanatics, there is Ravelry, so again, communications with other people who share your interest around the world.
Thinking back, I first started “collecting” people who I knew only over the internet in about 1995 with the original Knitlist. Hosted on a university server somewhere, it wasn’t one of the alt.knit.whatever discussion groups. Rather, it was a traditional group list just slightly advanced from the original bulletin boards of Fidonet. It was how I got to know Pat in Michigan, Cat in Australia, Isobel in New Hampshire, and Mary who lived in upstate New York at the time. Not all that long after, the deployments to the Balkans started which added Kris from Washington State and Val from the reserves. Shamash, the Reconstructionist list added in Ira in Boston, Steven in Los Angeles, and Steve in Rochester.
My first serious, organized attempt at staying connected started in 1998 with my deployment to the Balkans. That email list has continued to the present day with additions and deletions as time and interest dictated. Some included are people who I have known since college, others are those who I have gotten to know in the last couple of years. Two are adults, but I first met when I delivered them back in the days when I was doing OB. I have added those with whom I have served, from both the German and UK military.
I mention this now as I think of one German reserve officer who I first met in 1999 while attached to the German Military. A very junior sergeant then, Christian was looking to attempt the US Army’s Expert Field Medical Badge. We are now 20 years down the line, he is a fire department Capt, works search and rescue and is an officer in the Reserves. Or one of the most brilliant medical corps officers I have ever met – Beverly is now retired from the UK and, after earning a PhD, continues serving by researching veteran’s health in Scotland.
There are those I know from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, Israel – military, former military, families, friends, average people working to improve the lives of others. I would like at times to believe that I make a contribution, but perhaps the most important part is to simply stay connected and remember.
Women’s Basketball (not dogs chasing toys)
Today marked the last of the exhibition games before the official opening of the basketball season. Specially the UCBerkeley Golden Bears. From here on it, I will generally refer to them just as Cal. Yes, there are other UC schools in the system. At last count there are ten campuses, five medical centers, three national labs, and the stray law school here and there. It makes for an extensive system, which, according to their press info covers more than 280,000 students.
Ok, that is a lot of information that you really didn’t need or care to know.
Anyway – we live up the hill on Euclid from Cal (UCBerkeley). It is a fairly easy roll down the hill to various campus events but a much more demanding hike back up. Since George is on limited house arrest (doctor’s appointments only) I look Maus with me. She is in town for about 10 days. Both spending time with her dad and considering the logistics of a move to the area.
The women’s basketball team was playing the Vanguard Lions. I will acknowledge that I had to look up the Lions (Costa Mesa). Their team over all was quite a bit shorter and incredibly scrappy. The Bears won.
More importantly, the Straw Hat band was there. I enjoy the band. For the last two years, I have made lapel pins for them. Miriam and Angel designed the pin for this year
Wandering over to where the band members were gathering, I ran into Benjamin. A trombone player and a sophomore, he is an occasional member of the Right Field Bleachers crew. He will delighted to get a pin and happily announced to the whole gathering that I had brought neat pins. I get just enough made to cover most of the band members who play at the women’s basketball games including the alumni who cover during the winter holiday season.
Hiking all the way home got to me; Dani kindly rescued us partway up the hill.
And, if you can’t find a poppy, but know how to knit or crochet – go to Ravelry, there are literally dozens of free patterns. If you don’t do handcrafts, draft your nearest and dearest who does. A couple of suggestions include Carol Spillane’s crocheted poppy or Susan Resaul’s knitted poppy.
It is that time of year again. When I pull out the earrings that I purchased in Australia and add the pin acquired in New Zealand on the same trip in 2013. In the UK it is easy to find poppies. It seems that someone is selling them on practically every street corner. When I lived in Camberley, there were displays as well on many store counters. It was a pound, proceeds going to various veterans’ causes.
If this is not ringing a bell with you, I will elaborate. Last year was the 100th Anniversary of the ending of the Great War, the War to end all Wars. The war that later became known as WWI for obvious reasons. For years Armistice Day was celebrated on 11 Nov – 11:11 to be precise in recognition of the wars end (leave it to politicians to want to time the signing of a treaty so that it would be memorable). The poem, “In Flanders Fields” written by Canadian military physician John McCrea, references those poppies which have become the symbol of those fallen in war. In most of the English speaking world – the 11th is recognized as Remembrance Day. In the US, as of 1956, the day was renamed Veteran’s Day with the intent of recognizing more than those killed in wars.
Consider this your heads up, giving you enough time to plan what you are going to do for that day. Not shopping, taking advantage of sales, enjoying the day off work, or simply sleeping in. Rather, that Monday (Nov. 11 falls on a Monday this year), think of those – it may be your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents – who served in and survived WWI. Family members who might have served in WWII or any of the conflicts after that. Some of us have served since then, in various militaries in different parts of the world.
Find and wear a poppy. You have enough time. That poppy serves as a reminder that freedom and choice are not cost free. That we all have a responsibility to vote, to express our opinions, to support those currently serving. And to never forget the past.
My children at home were 8, 10, 12 when the Twin Towers fell, when the Pentagon was plane bombed, when I lost friends and colleagues. The repercussions are still with us today. In the Xenophobia & anti-immigrant policies that are being espoused by a certain group that is scared of losing its grip on what it considers its “rightful superiority.” By people who can say, with a straight face (and believe it) that the words on the Statue of Liberty only apply to those with wealth who are coming from white Europe and were never meant to include any other group.
By those who have never served, as I have, in the military along side individuals from multiple nations, from multiple backgrounds, all united for a common cause. Along side those who feel an obligation to the country which gave them opportunity, not those who take for granted that their background and privilege exempt them from the service shown by the military, the fire fighters, the police. All those who risk their lives on a daily basis.
By those who have a problem recognizing that the majority of whites in the US don’t have ties going back centuries, only decades. Who ignore the fact that Spanish were here hundreds of years before most Northern Europeans. That every last person immigrating from Central and South America can trace ancestry in the Western Hemisphere back thousands of years.
I spent more than a minute of silence and reflection. Noting as I was driving George too and from UCSF, that there were flags not at half-mast. I don’t know the custom overall, but when I think of the lives immediately lost, all those who died that day in rescue attempts whether NYC or Pentagon, those who sacrificed their lives which ended in a field in Pennsylvania, and all those who have died since then as a result of their involvement – it is the least we can do for respect.
Be grateful on a daily basis for those in uniform, be it fire, police, military. They all serve our country, putting their lives on the line on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. They do it out of honor, responsibility, personal obligation.
You could just thank all of them for their service, in remembrance.
This is a 7000 series train. Followed by where it is going and the next station. Of course, not all seven thousand series trains are created equal on the Washington DC regional Metro. Some have internal electronic signage. Some don’t. The trains are all shiny silver without any of the advertising wraps that are now becoming much more common on the BART system. The insides –
some of interior design is the same as BART. But there is a noticeable difference; both are there sidewalls which create compartments, but also blocks free movement of passengers. I also noted the complete lack of space for bicycles. Apparently, no one in the DC Metro area uses a bike for commuting.
where my hotel is located. There are various bits and pieces of that particular leaf (Oak?) around the station.
That was just the getting to and from the conference portion of my day. Otherwise, I went to a number of excellent presentations and a couple in which I was all too easily distracted. On me, maybe. Our military related symposium went extremely well as did our working group meeting. Surprisingly, the Canadian contingent outnumbered the US. Otherwise, we had representatives from Austria, Australia, India, Taiwan, UK, France, and a few who never said anything,.
I had a chance to FaceTime with George who is getting extremely bored (watching the eucalyptus sway and paint dry). Otherwise, there is news on the TV which is not necessarily thrilling. And of course, there is baseball and on some nights, basketball. (The As almost managed to toss away their win against the Rangers.)
the day (June 6, 1944) in World War II on which Allied forces invaded northern France by means of beach landings in Normandy. Today is the 75th Anniversary. All who served in that war, no matter which side, are now in their 90s. Our memories are short; the further we get from that conflict the easier it is to revise history. To discount the burden on those involved at the time, respect for all those who died, and the impact of post war on the future of more than just the countries directly involved with fighting on their lands. It isn’t just the Holocaust survivors of whom I speak, it is all who underestimate the impact on our politics today. That war, and the follow on Korean Conflict (War) had a huge impact on all of my generation as we grew up in the aftermath with the Cold War. The influence on our parents in turn affected us. And a large number of “us” are today’s politicians.
I headed back to the hotel early last night. Exhausted would have been a polite way of describing my staggering in the door and landing face down on the bed. At 0700 I was back at the hotel, meeting with the rest of the leadership of our working group. (ISTM provided breakfast, so there was a reward for being at a meeting when my body was clearly sure it was 0400). End result, we have a fairly good plan for the next meeting and a potential for joint symposium with a couple of the other special interest working groups. If any of can make a commitment to the regional meetings in 2020, there is a possibility (ick, how German can I get in sentence construction translated into English) of symposium at those meetings as well.
(and a thanks to Miriam. Her logo for our working group has been turned into a very nice coin. Military are all about coins.)
There were a number of absolutely excellent presentations today covering a range of topics from the expected malaria presentation through the handling of emergencies. I should have stayed for some of the evening meetings. Instead, I went back to the Courtyard Marriott to sleep.
(Word from George is that he is stable. Bored out of his mind, but stable).
Ok, title coding first. This is the Conference, International Society of Travel Medicine, #16. This afternoon was dedicated to the pre-conference workshops. Those included to take examinations could have spent the morning on the Certification Exam. I decided that I didn’t want to do years ago. I enjoy the meetings and I have a network now of fabulous people. But another exam? Done with those, thank you very much. And if I had, had even the smallest temptation, UCHastings and legal exams have thoroughly cured me.
I successfully made it from the airport to the Metro to the meeting hotel. I am still contemplating whether it is better to walk 4 blocks up hill from Dupont Circle, or 8 blocks downhill from Woodley Park. Such hard decisions are the bedrock of life.
The pre-course, mostly organized by my French colleague ran smoothly, so that is one critical item checked off my list. After thinking carefully, I bagged the opening ceremonies and reception in favor of heading to my hotel (the cheaper one a few stops up the Red Line Train to ….
At this point, it is waiting and consumes about as much energy as watching paint dry.
Seriously, it is nap, hang out, watch for side effects, complications, or infections (and hopefully none of the above).
So I thought I would talk to you about Robo.
Some bright person somewhere in the hospital, who if they are sensible, will never, EVER, admit that this was their idea, decided that robots could deliver certain items more safely and securely than people. And it was not a one time purchase.
They do not share space. There is a robotic voice feature that basically says “get out of my way.” If you are already on an elevator, it may tell you to leave. If you are both at the elevator, it will tell you that you can not ride with it. Note – TELL, not ask,. I have the suspicion that the robots are disruptive enough that they do not allow them on the utility elevators which means that they are restricted to interrupting visitors and staff, rather than patients being transported between hospital locations.
It took several of us to free up this particular bit of idiotic machinery, as it was stuck. There was a bed in the way, there was a chair in the way. Oh, horrors! And this is one of the new models. It has flashing lights, the same robotic voice. If you have a real desire to learn more – there is an article about Tug in 2017 on Wired. Or its home page on Aethon. Note – there are no prices on the website. Frankly, I don’t see it as a money saving measure – given initial investment, maintenance, and the requirement for people on both ends of the supply run, which means that it doesn’t really improve patient safety in delivery of medications, blood products or surgical instruments. There is the issue of contamination as it rolls in and out of public spaces. And finally, they get stuck. The end result of which means that it is not what you want for anything that is an emergency. It probably is cheaper than replacing a pneumatic tube system in an older facility, but there is something seriously to be said about investment in people.
I am now at USO at SFO. Taking the red-eye from here to DC. The ISTM meeting starts on Thursday morning. As an every two year meeting, I try not to miss. I would make the exception this year except for the fact that I am the co-chair of one of the working/interest groups and made the commitment to be there for the meeting last fall (before any of the current challenges materialized). Even so, I might have bailed had not two other committee members done (including the local organizer) so leaving it down to my co-chair (French) and the sec/treasure (Canada).
The two eldest will be checking on George, I will be making extensive use of FaceTime. And I paid for trip insurance in case I have to head home early.
lately has become a day on which I hide out and stay home. Especially in the U.S. where the holiday has become just one more in a long line succumbing to commercialization by retailers looking for one more opportunity to peddle their wares. I understand wanting to make a living. I even understand merchandising. What I really do not appreciate is the taking of anything solemn or of significance and turning it into a circus.
It certainly happens in the U.S. with religious holidays. Especially the two major Christian ones. I don’t care about social holidays (Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day?) -those are just ripe for commercialization. But Memorial Day? Veteran’s Day? Those should command at least a modicum of respect. Memorial Day should impact everyone.
Veteran’s Day? It has become an excuse for anyone who knows someone with prior service to say “thank you for your service” and bop on with their lives. Perhaps the day garners more respect in Europe. I think there is a huge difference between sending family off to fight in foreign lands and having those battles range through your own country, city, town and farm. It is easier to understand when it is personal, when your parents, or grandparents lived through the war, even when they absolutely never talk about it.
Take that minute at 11 after 11 today. Armistice Day and be glad that you are not currently living in a war zone. That the battles you are fightings aren’t house to house, tree to tree. That there are not mass graves under your feet. That your family is safe. That you, unlike many in the past, have choices.
29 April 2018 – Looking back 20 years
Today I am on a ship, sailing to Halifax. Civilian ship, lovely surroundings, great food, good friends.
Contrast that to 20 years ago. My location was Blue Factory, MND-N, Bosnia. This mailing list had been functioning for about three weeks. My purpose, not well articulated, was to keep in touch with those outside of the theater. As it turned out, it also served to provide a glimpse into deployed military life to family and friends. Most of whom had had little to no contact with the military. The list also served as my chronicle of ongoing life in the middle of an armed camp in the remains of a severely damaged country. No, it wasn’t quite bombed back to the stone age, but not for lack of trying. The absolute devastation weighed heavily on me. The visible proof that neighbors could turn on those living next door, often for decades.
The closest anyone had to social media in 1998 was various ListServes which mostly ran on various university computers. A response to the list was distributed back out to the entire list. About the only control the user had over the list was to set parameters for individual or daily delivery of the list. There were also the USENET discussion groups. Access to any of the above depended on at least a modicum of computer literacy, access at work or home plus a [rather noisy] dial up modem. Obviously, having a personal computer in 1998 was much more likely that it was in the early 1980s, but still not ubiquitous.
My notes were basically a record of daily life, the operation of my task force, and asides about anything thing else that caught my fancy. 20 years ago – it was about cows. I would include the whole note, but that idea leaves me shuddering. Email for me at the time was an in-line ASCII text editor. Cut and paste was marginal. As a result, spelling, grammar, and frankly more often than not, coherency took a bit of effort on the readers part.
Living in a deployed environment, my life was constrained by Task Force Eagle requirements and the practicalities of military procedures. To travel off Blue Factory all rules and forms had to be observed. The nicest, of course, was to hitch a ride with one of my MEDEVAC crews. Flying was always a pleasure, quicker and more comfortable that the other options. To travel by ground with US forces, whether my own or other’s required a convoy of 2-4 vehicles, full battle rattle (flak vest, load bearing equipment, helmets, weapons loaded) vehicles and constant reporting of location. There were also buses which traveled between the bases on quasi regular routes ( 2 ½ hours to Eagle base, 45 minute return) which enabled more efficient use of personnel. The final travel option was to hitch rides with various allies in which case their travel rules applied. The best option for me/my personnel was traveling with NordPol Brigade who went everywhere in single vehicles.
Leaving aside a recitation of meetings, email and exercise, which involved the daily operations of a medical task force (hospital, dental, public health, vet, ground and air evac, med support company, mental health) related to patient treatment, transfer and flow through and out of theater we were still in the process of settling in. The previous hospital and commander had been well respected, the task force? Not so much.
“ We put some pax on a Norwegian vehicle going north. I had lab and pharmacy soldiers who needed/wanted to get to Slav Brod. This was both an assistance visit and a “check out the new facilities trip.” The Nords were meeting some vehicles returning from Hungary . My soldier who just returned had a great time on the trip. He said the country is beautiful in spite of the destruction. Riding in one of the Norwegian small trucks was also a good deal from his point of view.
Meanwhile, I rode in a convoy over to Tuzla Main in response to a personal invitation to fa remembrance service. With what turned out to be a non-infrequent occurrence, the information provided wasn’t completely accurate. The date on the poster didn’t match that of the email which also didn’t match the phone verification call or reality. Arriving – oops, tomorrow. I am not going to be going back tomorrow. I have a meeting at the Ministry of Health to attend.
Heading back before dark (two vehicles rather than four) – there were cows. One set of three adults and three yearlings that certainly looked like Holsteins. A bit further on, another three adults calmly walking single file down the side of the road like they knew where they were going. This small herd looked to be a cross between a Guernsey and a Holstein in brown; no visible black but weird white and brown splotches. The cows were alone; I hoped they were headed home.”
Yugoslavia had been the producer of land mines for the Soviet Union. Their production had been extensive which lead to the obvious use of everything from anti-personnel “toe poppers” to huge anti-tank mines during the time frame following the breakup of the country. I guess it is use the tools on hand. The result for both peacekeeping and peacemaking forces was the necessity of staying on roads. Often, cows inadvertently wound up serving as landmine detectors. If a field was strewn with cows, the chances were good that there were [no longer] landmines in that field. Cows walking along the roads? Stay on the path if you please.
Today, I am looking out the front of the observation lounge into more white mists. There is blue sky visible above. I am not wearing body armor, a helmet or carrying a loaded weapon. I might miss the responsibility and feelings of contribution to larger purpose. But I don’t miss the weight of the gear or unreasonable rules which at times served to impede mission and block progress. I am comfortable in a multi-cultural, multi-language environment in a way that many other passengers are not. Ship rules don’t bother me. I understand the need. Stupid people irritate me, but that is nothing new. Those who relocate themselves from cabin to lounge and proceed to snore, or seem to think that the entire ship is their personal underwear/bathrobe space. The seas aren’t all that rough and we actually were able to finally see the waves this evening.
Now, if the food had been this good on my deployments ……
As you walk down Columbus toward the river there is a bright mural on the overpassing railroad bridge. Just to the right is the VFW Memorial. Comprised of three sections, it makes a quiet but clear statement. In picture form, is the history of the US military war experience starting with WWI.
There is a section with the names of the dead, the missing and those that served which is expanding by both those adding their names or emailing the info to the project maintainers.
There is the symbolic graveyard.
Expanding and updating part of the wall were a couple of diligent artists
Over all, it is such a simple thing – to serve so that all may have their freedom. Even those who don’t have the understanding or respect that our country deserves.
In other comments; on any day but Sunday it seems to be relatively easy to travel between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. When I had verified transportation options yesterday I was horrrified that it would be almost as fast to hike the 10miles between the cities as to attempt the public option. Cabs were predicted to be double the cost of Lyft.
But we made it, went walking toward the river, around the local square and enjoyed Thai food for an early supper while seeing the last of the fall trees lit up with the sunset.
The early morning sail in was beautiful – no rain, not cold and lights all about us. The moon was full and glowing. The LA Harbor is actually in San Pedro. Primarily an industrial harbor it also has both a cruise terminal and the USS Iowa Battleship Museum.
After breakfast with Jill & Graeme, I hung out for a while. Since I had pre-paid a transfer to LAX, why not wait? And wait. And wait…
The morning turned into a challenge for everyone. First there were local police who decided that until they were done with whatever they were doing, no one was getting on or off the ship. Means the ICE folks can’t review the crew manifest. Then “someone” (meaning ICE) didn’t realize how many non-US citizens were on the ship. The two (2) departure/clearance lines bogged down completely when everyone has to go through the passport/visa check/finger print check etc.
Then a bus or two broke down.
Shall we skip all the upset people who were worried about their flights? Or the nice couple several of us pushed to the front of the line? The pair who missed the “walk off” announcement and were waiting to be able to leave the ship. With less than 90 minutes till their flight?
I made it to LAX by noon (original projected time was 1045) and confirmed that SouthWest strictly adheres to the four hour luggage drop off rule. Terminal 1 was a zoo. No place to hang out. Terminal 2 is the same. But between the two, and across the road (finally found the stoplight and cross walk) sits the Bob Hope USO. They let us old-timers in on a Space-A basis.
There was space. And outlets, and coffee.
I spent time talking with some young Navy guys. An Air Force Tech Sargent on his way to Hawaii fully agreed that he was in the “comfortable service” and there was nothing wrong at all in avoiding both long deployments and tented living conditions…
In not too many minutes, I will be able to drop off luggage and get through security. My flight is just after 2200 and my DH will even pick me up at the Oakland Airport!
I am actually looking forward to being home. Is there a pill I can take for that?
6 Oct 2017 – Blue Angels
Since today was a sea day, I could bore you with a stitch by stitch discussion of a newly started cross-stitch fractal. Or on how Jill decided that the design that looked perfectly lovely on 28 count fabric looked really sucky and clumsy when stitched on 14 count. Me? I like 14 count, but will be deviating into 22 count (these, by the way are threads per inch) for a project that I have planned in order to keep it to a size doable in my life time.
Blue Angels, right.
We were significantly late leaving San Francisco yesterday due to practice activities of Fleet Week. This apparently includes an aerial show presented by the Blue Angels (the fighter exhibition flying team for those not steeped in US Navy military lore). Well, today was practice , the day. The Bay, apparently was closed to large vessel traffic. Or at least large cruise ships. We saw several container ships move out and through. I had heard nothing about small craft warnings so you really have to wonder.
Right after boarding we were treated to about an hour of flyovers featuring 2-4 jets in various close formations circling around, barrel rolling, climbing, diving and coming way to close to each other for my comfort. But then I most assuredly remember Flugtag 88. The three of us detoured to lunch, found our cabins and wandered around a bit.
There was a muster drill, naturally. One of the longest and most exquisitely detailed in my opinion. Glad that it was only English and German or we would have been there a lot longer than 35 minutes. Following that, I headed back up to the Observation Deck and grabbed a lounge chair. It was almost 1600, our scheduled departure. No movement, nothing, but a lot of noise overhead. The jets were back, six of them this time. I am sure there is a reason why the planes were numbered 1,3,4,5,7,7 I am sure there is a reason never mind that it would make more sense to have consecutive numbers? And yes they went by low enough to be able to read the tails. Even double checked the images I took with the camera.
Obviously, this crew was the source of the haze spoiling what would otherwise have been a clear day. They popped over Mt Talapis often enough that I think the air quality in Salsallito must have really sucked.
The Grand Princess was at Pier 27. She sailed out first, then we pulled out, much closer to 1800 than just 90 minutes late. But there were supplies that were loaded, all the late arriving buses from SFO managed to make it through the traffic and I had luggage by the time I got back to my cabin. I would not have wanted to be any civilian aircraft coming into OAK or SFO today. There were too many military aircraft moving at high speed, climbing, diving and otherwise taking up significant airspace over the Bay.
Oh, and one wonders exactly what modifications were made to the biplane……
Memorial Day when I was growing up was the 30th of May. In fact, it didn’t become a floating to Monday holiday until 1972 which explains my memories of parades and cemetery services being on various days of the week.
I had no family who served in the US military in WWI – either too young an immigrant or too old when the war started. In WWII, my father served but wasn’t let out of CONUS due to age and perhaps attitude. He served as a combat photographer for the 10th Mountain Division. Something that I verified when I was stationed at Ft Drum as his scribble was tucked into the corner of a few of the training photos from the Colorado Mountains prior to the division beings shipped to the Italian front.
I spent Viet Nam in University and Med School, the first Gulf War first in Eckenbach for Golden Python and then later at Ft Drum. After that I managed to get through 6 months plus multiple trips to the Balkans, 15 months in Kuwait & Iraq and 7 months in Afghanistan without getting myself killed. In fact, I don’t think I have any US family members who have died in military service. For that matter, I don’t think I have had any family members other than my father who have ever served. Military service was traditionally for men – lots of small families with daughters only, and it made for a really, really good reason to leave Czarist Russia. 25 years conscription was not a good thing for anyone and did only rarely return anyone to home.
For me it is a good day to stay home. I can recognize the sacrifice of others without going somewhere, doing something. It is not like living in Europe where visiting the WWI and WWII cemeteries made sense. I can recognize the sacrifice of self, family and country.
And I don’t have to be bombarded by all those commercial enterprises which disgracefully dishonor the sacrifice of so many in countries service by turning the holiday which was traditionally one of respect into just another sales opportunity.
All of us who fly to Europe are used to the “leave in the evening and arrive the next morning” method of travel. For years when traveling from the East Coast, this meant a flight leaving somewhere after 2000 and sometimes as late as 2230. After moving to the West Coast things changed a lot. If you are stuck (schedule or expense) changing planes in the US it normally means a morning departure. You have to account for 4-5 hours of flight plus three hours of time change. And, if you are smart, at least 2 hours at the change airport just to have 1/2 a chance of making your flight.
Even the direct flights from SFO seem to leave early afternoon. But then, my most recent flights have involved Frankfurt, a plane change in Frankfurt or Copenhagen. Imagine my surprise when informed that the flight to Munich (why wouldn’t I fly direct?) didn’t leave till 2055! Of course, it doesn’t exactly arrive in the morning, now does it? This is not a flight for someone who needs to be able to work the same day they arrive. But it is totally and completely perfect for someone who needs to get there, have a light supper and crash for the night.
Oh, I didn’t say? It doesn’t arrive till 1715 in the late afternoon. For me, this is perfect. I need to be at the SanAK the next day for registration and my conference is Tue-Thurs. Makes complete sense; within the week travel for everyone in Europe and in country.
My studio is almost clean. There are several hundred books and a dozen or so audio books ready to go to the used bookstore. I passed along a couple dozen weaving books to a new weaver and 500 gm of beads to a friend of the Eldest. Between College Guy and myself, there are three bags of clothing to go to the Charity Shop and three baskets of craft supplies are going to be rehoused on my just emptied shelves in the garage.
I’ll have phone and wifi while gone. I will miss the family (no, not you dogs) but not the construction noise. The Eldest is documenting the whole process for me. Meanwhile, there has to be something interesting to snack on here in the United Lounge (no, I’m on Lufthansa).
Watching the map this morning as we w\sailed through the narrowest part of the straights (which I am sure was planned for daylight) I was reminded of how little I miss the Arab Middle East. Or HOA (Horn of Africa) or that nasty place in 2003-4 referred to Djibouti and should be only visited if you never left the airfield.
According to the [ex]Marine I met up with on deck this morning, we were due to pass through the narrowest portion of the straits at 0900. At least that is what the front desk told him when we called. Neither of us being all that stupid about geography and willing to look at the progress screen on the telly, we were on the deck right before 0600. Since sunrise was around 0515, this explains why we slowed down so much overnight. This area is definitely one to pass during the day.
Looking off to Port, the African coast is receding in the distance. And is plain, we are not exactly the only ship making this passage.
On the Arabian Peninsula side…
With neither side looking all that welcoming.
Cross Stitch update –