Friday, November 21, 2014

I'm Back!

Well now, not sure how well I can jump back into blogging, but I'll give it a go.

I've been away for the last nine months due to my ship's deployment to the Middle East. It was a serious growing experience for me, being stuck with the same group of people for the whole time... and was good and bad.

I suppose what I have to say about it I'll say on my Navy Blog and keep to tradition and try and keep these two separate. Don' t know if I had much success at that in the past, even. But whateves!

As to being a normal person again, the first day and a half back I stayed with my dear friends Kristin and Dan in Chesapeake... they treated me royally. Went out to a great little Mexican restaurant called Burrito Perdito, then crashed at their house. Got my phone service restored later on at a store because they had "recycled" my number even though I told them to keep it. But it turned out for the best I guess... I don't have a contract now, and I got a cheaper plan too.

Next day Dan took me for a ride on his Harley Davidson around the country back-roads... I had never been on a motorcycle before... it was SO MUCH FUN! It was like flying on the ground, and Dan said I behaved just like Kristin does when I spread my arms out while we roared along.

That afternoon I got on a plane that flew me to Dallas just in time to catch the next plane with my husband to Seattle. Our reunion consisted of a brief hug and kiss, then not long to wait in a dwindling line to board the plane... then some cuddling, I admit, before I fell fast asleep for a good portion of the journey. Poor Michael had to deal with lots of snow in Norman to get on his plane.

It was absolutely heaven to see my family again.


Friday, January 31, 2014

Movies, Movies

Ranging from the bizarre (An Original DUCKumentary, 2012, narrated by Paul Giamatti) to the epic (Becket, 1964, Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole) I've enjoyed quite a few things on Netflix recently. Last week it was The Apartment (1960, Jack Lemmon), and that was very good! I also got to see that fantastic end of the NFC championship game that my Darling recorded for me... and last night I watched a documentary about Lt. Michael Murphy (MOH) that was very moving. Also got my last disc from Netflix... the last Maigret set, appropriately.

Precious Time

Late Friday night (Gee, has it been a week already?), I picked up my dear friend Julie from the Norfolk airport. I flew her over here to visit for the weekend while we still have a chance. Saturday, I was able to show her all over my ship after cooking her a breakfast at home. We ate some delicious Thai food on Hampton Blvd just afterwords, then picked up some salmon and things from the commissary... for the full Norfolk experience. Back at home we watched some Foyle's War, relaxed, played some music on the horn, and then went out for dessert before dinner: pie and coffee at a cafe in Newport News. While we were at it, we shot some archery at my favorite range (not far from the cafe). It was Julie's first time shooting, and she did decently. As this is my third time shooting this month, I did much better than the last time. We ate our leftovers at home as we watched some of my disc from Netflix, the French detective Maigret.

Sunday morning we slept in again and went out for crabmeat omelets at my favorite place on Shore Drive. Did laundry at the oceanfront... walked on the beach... then we took off to go shoot my pistol, but we had a bit of a time finding things that were open. The range on base was permanently closed, so we decided to go to the art museum first, but that was randomly closed too... they need money. Then I remembered there was an exhibit of some of the museums paintings at a location near the mall, but that ended up being closed too. Sorry for the inconvenience, indeed! So we crossed the mall and went to the MacArthur museum instead. That was open, and even fun! Took a detour in the mall to look at the toy store, then took off for a gun range in Virginia Beach. We were able to do that even though they were a little full. And then we made it to church a little late, but enjoyed it very much. Had salmon for dinner back home (which was very yummy! had it with veggies (asparagus, sprouts, and yellow squash - sliced and baked with cheese on top). We watched The Women, as Julie had never seen it before and I had it on my mind. Much fun indeed.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Perfect Day Trip

After a late breakfast on Monday, that I interrupted with the film Joyuex Noel, I set off on my adventure on the peninsula. First I dropped by Home Depot for paint and spackle... Little project of mine. Got gas since I was at half full, then stopped by Cinema Cafe for a ticket to their Super Bowl all you can eat. Stopped at Target after that for some usual things, then continued down Mercury Blvd to Wilcox Archery to shoot a few rounds.

From there I went north (west) on I-64 to VA-17 to explore Gloucester across the bridge from Yorktown. On my way back, just before the bridge, I stopped at Nick's Steakhouse for some succulent surf and turf (along with yummy bread, chicken & rice soup, and a baked potato w/sour cream).

Once back across, I detoured off the highway to drive along the edge of the York River on the Colonial Parkway, just as the sun was disappearing ahead of me. The river was perfectly still and reflected that lovely dusky blue of the evening sky. There was just enough orange from the sunset to make it glow and make me sigh with the sight of it. The outlines of the bare winter hardwoods towered above each side of me as I drove along, making me wish I could linger and drink it all in until the light completely disappeared.

I ended up in Williamsburg, just as I planned. Found a good parking spot, then walked around a little, searching for some home-made apple pie. I despaired when I checked with the second restaurant... but the guy at that place recommended another... and I easily found that... Aromas... with a symbol of a pie on their sign. It made me so happy!

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Friday afternoon and Saturday were pretty low key. Did some shopping, watched some things, including a 1941 film with Leslie Banks called 'Cottage to Let', which was available on instantly on Netflix, and a random pick from my collection from Mike... 'So This is Love'... a biopic on an opera singer I knew nothing of before I watched the film. Very interesting.

Saturday evening, however, I went to spend the night with Kristin and Dan in Chesapeake. Kristin and I watched the entire series of Arn together! The next morning (after sleeping in and enjoying bacon and eggs for breakfast), I helped Kristin prepare freezer meals for their family while we watched Anne of Green Gables (the sequel).

We parted after church, and I went to a Mexican restaurant to watch the NFC championship game... the restaurant closed at the end of the third quarter. Not feeling like going anywhere else, I returned home and monitored the game on mobile ESPN while I watched my favorite parts of the Pride and Prejudice miniseries. Well, the Seahawks won and I got to watch one of my favorite movies to boot. Stayed up way too late, but that was okay since Monday was a holiday.


Monday, January 13, 2014

A Few Fun Things

Recently I discovered a new mystery series from Netflix... Maigret (1992), based on novels written from the '30s to the '70s... which I had never heard of until now. Enjoyed it much, and I will have the second disc coming tomorrow.

Otherwise, I had a get together with a few of my friends from work to go shoot archery at the local range in Hampton. First there was breakfast at my place, then we carpooled and hung out for a while since the range was very busy. It was my friends first time shooting, so I tried to teach them as well as I could. And one of them took a nice pic of me shooting... I'd never seen my stance before, so that was pretty neat!

Sunday afternoon, after a wonderfully relaxing morning that included scrambled eggs with cheese and guacamole, and later on a couple laps around my neighborhood on the bike, I drove over to the Cinemark theater in Chesapeake for a showing of The Princess Bride on the big screen. How fun that was! A few officers from the ship (that I had mentioned it to) came as well. I had a scoop of ice cream along with a bucket of popcorn for refreshments. :)

Went to church two weeks in a row! Now, that's a record! Managed to see Kristin and Dan again... and made plans for next weekend with them.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Holiday Time at Home

With the extra days off this last week, I've enjoyed watching a couple of the Maureen O'Hara films Mike copied for me, along with a 1956 remake of The Philadelphia Story from Netflix called High Society. Normally I would balk at remakes of films I love, but this one was pretty fun and had good people in it too.

Besides doing battle with some mice, most of my time has been spent upstairs in the extra bedroom building a model destroyer just like my own ship, and a copyrighted 1955 model of the USS Constitution. Both are very fun!

Aaahhhhhhh! Relief. And Merry Christmas, Too.

In CLT (Charlotte) on my way to SEA(ttle).

Christmas break was wonderful!!!! It was a breath of fresh air to be with my husband and family again! This time, he got there before me by an evening, and left just after my flight. It was fun to have our roles reversed like that for once. As you can see, I had a great view out my window over the Cascades.

The first night, we had dinner at Chan's Place (this time with Dad, Meg/family along too), then Mom took Mike and I out to Benaroya Hall for a Seattle Symphony performance of Handel's Messiah. Although a little sleepy (I didn't make it all the way through the five-minute "Amen" at the end), we all thoroughly enjoyed it! KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS, indeed!

Sunday morning (well, late morning), we had a quick breakfast and went to Church with my parents for my sister and niece's Christmas Concert in which they sang beautifully. The rest of the day was taken up relaxing at home, playing games and singing some more.

Monday was a relaxing morning, and was typical of the rest of the week: nice long breakfast, take the dog on a walk around the block (circling the park) and then start the day. That afternoon, we all went on a cruise on Lake Washington with Argosy, taking off from downtown Kirkland. This was to sail around during a simply gorgeous sunset and listen to the Dickens Carolers. We all went out to Pizza Bank afterwords for a wonderful dinner.

Even though I was terribly sick Monday night lasting all the way through Christmas Eve, I had a decent Christmas Eve. I just didn't eat anything except about four crackers. Didn't feel at all like going to Church, so we missed out on that fine tradition... but we did still have a family gathering and Christmas story reading, and massive carol sing-a-long. Meg gave me a copy of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe that she had found cheap (I have a collection of different editions of the book), and while still laying down on the couch, I read the excerpt with Father Christmas out loud to everyone, which was lots of fun. LONG LIVE THE TRUE KING.

By Christmas morning, I was completely recovered from my 24-hr flu, and took part in our traditional Christmas breakfast with a glad heart. The day was fabulous and fun, and I took a lot of pictures of my little niece, Jonna. As for presents, my Darling found a new book of Tintin art for me that arrived just on time, Christmas Eve, from Amazon. Meg gave me useful and fun things to take along on deployment and some beautiful ornaments, Andie knit Mike and I scarves in our school colors, Mom and Dad, besides Messiah and the boat cruise, gave us gift cards, and to me, a set of tiny little glass sea animals!

The day after Christmas was our last full day home. Mike and I picked up our friend Julie for a little ferry ride to Bremerton and back, then our traditional "new year's" dinner at Ivar's on the Seattle waterfront. Besides the uncanny calm of Puget Sound, that night when we pulled back in to Seattle, there was a massive fog bank looming over the entire waterfront, blocking out the bright lights of the city. As we drew in closer, the tall buildings disappeared into blackness, and soon we could see nothing at all. Gradually, lights from the other ferry boat came into view as we pulled in, but you couldn't tell you were in a city at all!

 Bremerton (above) and my Dungeness Crab salad at Ivar's (below)
 Way too soon we had to leave. We had a nice, relaxing morning on the 27th, but our hours were numbered. I think that's Venus in the center of the pic below on the first leg of my trip back.

So, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Happy New Year!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

At the Symphony on Saturday... and the Movies on Monday

Saturday morning I slept in a good deal, being tired from a busy week in the Navy. I don't remember details, but I know I managed to get my finances in order with the bank, get my laundry done, and I know I watched some Inspector Gadget (1983) from Netflix and heartily enjoyed the theme music and the character Amazon Annie in one of the episodes. (Speaking of those kind of things, I watched Wreck It Ralph for the first time the other day on board... and I loved it! So funny! Made me smile when I walked past the arcades last night at the theater. And Sunday on Duty, I watched Battleship on my laptop as well... and that was silly!)

But the main event Saturday was at Chrysler Hall downtown for a Symphony performance of Beethoven's Fifth... along with a concerto for the oboe by Mozart, and a very mundane piece called Apollon Musagete by Stravinsky. I was so tired, I dozed during Stravinsky... but the rest was so interesting and well done, I was wide awake. I had a lovely seat too... just a few rows back on the right hand side... a front-row seat to watch the cellos! It was solid fog when the concert got out... and since the housing people decided 11pm on a Saturday night was a good time to do maintenance on the power, they took it down again. I spent the night onboard instead of being driven crazy by the fire alarm beeping.

Monday afternoon, I slept for five straight hours once I got home. When I woke, I decided I wanted to finally go see the new Thor movie, so I went to the cinema cafe in Hampton, and enjoyed a late night showing. Got some things for the ship at the grocery store on the way home, then discovered a way to rip my DVDs to a computer format when I settled back in. My hours are all out of whack!

Tonight I went for a quick bike ride between making pies and watching The Mikado (1939) on Netflix.  Also got to talk to lots of my family, and finalize everything I want on the ship for a while.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

At the Opera

For the first time ever, I decided to go to the opera... the Virginia Opera, playing at the Harrison Opera House in downtown Norfolk, put on a production of The Magic Flute, by Mozart, and sung in English. I have never heard such wonderful voices in person before. The leading lady matched the quickness and highness of the sweetest violin you've ever heard. Goodness! It was wonderful. It wasn't until it was more than half over that I remembered it was symbolic of Freemasonry... but I tried to ignore most of that. It had important things to say about God and men that are true in general... but there are things in there about man perfecting himself, which is absolute bosh, of course. The message I came away with was that music is healing... and I agree with that. I really enjoyed the comedy of it, and especially the happy ending.