Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Got gators?

Most days I handle being an adult quite well. Somedays it's just not fun.
Remembering the carefree days of childhood tonight.
Remembering family reunions, big and small, complete with seriously competitive basketball games in my driveway, played with cousins, many of whom had no business dribbling a ball, but did so, with great gusto.

Just remembering tonight.

After a few years sailing down here in the swamps of the Gulf of Mexico, tonight for the first time I saw one of these prehistoric looking buggers.
 While taking these photos I took an extra step back from the edge of the boat...just in case.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Negative? Me?

I do believe I blame my blogging drought on the fact that I gave up cable news for Lent, and have continued with this quest ever since. Granted, I pretty much have no clue what's going on in the world, and some may say that's a bit irresponsible but hey, my blood pressure is down and my spirits are up. In time, this may change....watching cable news and my blood pressure.

The downside is, I have nothing to write about. I've learned that my blog was fueled mainly by news reports that I could complain about, but hey, it was such fun!

Anyway, here are a few photos...just to hold you over until I can find what direction this blog will be heading in in the future.

As of now, it's pretty much dead in the water. Pun intended.

When we were recently visiting Zion National Park, we stayed at a place called Zion Mountain Ranch. Oh, I highly recommend both if you find yourself in Utah someday. Unbeknownst to me the ranch offers horseback trail rides....if I had known that I would have ran the other way, because well, me and horses don't normally get along. Don't get me wrong, I love those big beasts, but that's the problem, they are BIG BEASTS! Ok, I'm scared of them, alright?

But, because I am a GREAT husband, I treated my wife to a ride through the neighboring canyon on horse back. Pictured below are me and my wife,  one person is right at home in the saddle, the other is not. I'll let you decide who you think should be in the saddle.

 I think we were driving toward Flagstaff, AZ when we came across this rainbow.

And this........
well, that's just stupid.

I do believe tomorrow is Hump Day.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Revisiting the Grand Canyon

I posted some pictures of the Grand Canyon, where I was lucky enough to have visited again recently
while on a trip to Phoenix to visit my daughter who lives there.
 My wife, my oldest daughter Erin and my youngest Keely headed off on a road trip to see one of the grandest sites you can ever see.
 I received some comments that were very nice, some saying things like, have never been there but thanks for sharing the photos.
 Let me be clear here. These photos posted here do not even come close to capturing the majesty that is our Grand Canyon. Not--even--close.

 Maybe this antidote will make it a bit clearer. The day we were visiting this great hole became cloud covered as the day wore on. We were hoping to catch a Grand Canyon sunset, but I really had my doubts. It wasn't looking good. But we decided, what the heck, we would head up to the Canyon resort on the North rim, just in case the clouds cleared. We were fortunate. The gods were on our side and let just a bit of the sunset peek through the mostly cloud covered canyon. Being a resort, there was quite a few people around there for the same reason, armed with cameras, to catch a Canyon sunset. Taking a glance around at any time I bet I could see 50 to 75 people, positioning themselves for a photographic opportunity.

The voices of those people could be heard, until the sun started to set, and the light began to paint another masterpiece  on the Canyon walls. As it became more spectacular by the minute, the decibel of the voices lowered. By the time the sun had set, even though I was surrounded by all these people, it was as if I was in a church. The few people that spoke, were whispering. That's the affect this place has on people. To say it is a religious experience is not a stretch. It is a place words can not describe. Until you see it, you won't understand it. If at all possible, a visit to the Grand Canyon should be on everyones bucket list.

 My daughter Keely, with the best view in the house. This awesome experience was doused a bit because my family wasn't there as a whole. My middle daughter Bryn was missed and mentioned among us every day. Some day Bryn will join us on a return trip. It's a must.
Do your self a favor if you haven't already. Visit this spectacular place.

A Prickly Situation

Coming from an area of the country that is very green,
I was infatuated with these crazy plants
in Phoenix.

And I took way too many photos,
but here are a few.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Should have went

There was a funeral today for my cousin. Geography and a difference in age kept us from being "close" over the years, but as time marched on it seems now the difference in age wasn't as large.

I had every intention of attending his funeral today. Having a job that takes me away from home one half of each year, decreases my chances by 50% of me attending these family sad events. When my work schedule permits, I like to go to support my relatives. So when this date overlapped with a scheduled appointment I had with a skin doctor, I found I could not attend my cousins funeral, and I feel terrible about that.

My current issues seem miniscule compared with what the surviving members of my cousins family are going through, and that's because they are. I feel terrible I didn't go. I should have found a solution.

Thankfully, my sister travelled the many hours to Buffalo NY, representing the rest of us who could not make it. For that I am grateful.

I hope his family finds the peace that this photo represents....

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Grand Canyon

I recently returned from the Grand Canyon, and upon reviewing some of the photos I realized what every other person who has visited this beautiful place has realized, and that is, words or photos does not do this place justice. 
So, I will speak no more on this magical place.

I will post some photos, well, because I have a blog, and that's what we do. 

Sunset on the Grand Canyon

Daughter Kelly with the best view.
Unfortunately for us, Bryn, my middle daughter did not make the trip with us, and she was missed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Crew Change

Crew change day. Off with the work cloths after 3 weeks and on with the good cloths that have been on a hanger on my wall, looking at me for 21 days, almost mocking me.

Clean up the boat, finish the paperwork ( thanks to Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, ABS and other governing bodies there is plenty ) leave my crew change notes for my relief and tell him how good everything is running ( whether it is or not ) pack my bag and head for Pennsylvania.

It hasn't rained in Texas in like.....105 years, but today, on crew change day, the day we have to get a launch to take us from the anchorage to shore, the day we all rush to get in our rental car and make it to the airport so we can all make our flights, the Texas sky has opened up like we're doing a remake of Noah's Arc or something. 

But that's ok. It's crew change day and I'm pretty darn happy.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria

 After 6 days of sitting at anchor near Galveston, TX we were told this afternoon to haul anchor and make way for Nederland, Tx. ( we actually don't say haul anchor and make way )
Ok, I get it, this short 8 hour trip we are about to embark on does not mirror the journey of say, the Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria, but getting underway after sitting for a week isn't a bad idea.

Toward late afternoon I had a somewhat boring job to do which involved standing out on deck and monitoring a hose that was going over the side while I pumped out our grey water tanks.

 I grabbed a cup of coffee and positioned myself near the rail on this windless 90 degree day,  in no hurry to go back inside, enjoying the ride as we pushed our barge through the lake like conditions of the Gulf of Mexico.
(Tugboat 101: calm sea conditions, push the barge. Rough sea conditions, tow the barge.)

I was dressed in our company attire, long sleeve Carhartt fire resistant  shirt, long Carhartt fire resistant cargo pants, steel toe workbooks, a hat and sunblock. Here's a tip for you. Don't wear long legged and long sleeve Carhartt fire resistant cloths if you have any thought at all at being cool in the 90 degree heat off the coast of Texas.
As I stood there sweltering I couldn't help but think back to earlier days, and how some things have changed. Fifteen or twenty years ago if I were doing this same job I would have been wearing shorts, sneakers, no shirt and no sunscreen. I know, I know, but hey, I was working on getting that deep tan that we all loved.

But that was before I had an open door policy with my skin doctor who has practiced his craving skills more than once on this fair skinned Irishman. I now find myself much more aware of shade than I ever have been. My flip flop buying has been replaced with floppy hat purchases. Hey, it is what it is.


On another subject, pictured below is a fellow crew member of mine, his name is Chuck.
I call him Charles, just because he doesn't like it.
Charles is a really nice guy. Couldn't ask for a better ship mate as far as having a positive attitude almost all of the time.

Charles gets big points for his happy go lucky ways, because sometimes, he just........ugh.
Ok, if you have visited this blog more than once, you have probably heard my rants about smart phones and how they are abused in the world in general, but specifically on our boat. 
Scroll back up and take a good look at Charles. He is obviously sitting in the galley.
The galley isn't a place where one needs to wear hearing protection.
A closer look at Charles reveals the sole purpose of him wearing hearing protection.

So, ( deep breath) he uses the ear muffs to clamp his phone to his ear while he talks.
Is it just me??? Charles is on watch when I took this photo. Charles has the gift of gab.
The question is, who is on the other end of that phone line? Does she too have her phone clamped to her head?


If I was a woman, I would want hair like Lorde. Just throwing that out there.

Have a great Sunday!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

World Cup vs Bocce

The FIFA World Cup is in full swing and I couldn't be happier. I'm a huge fan of the World Cup. I don't know the rules of soccer, or um, futbol, but I love watching it. It is the most popular sport in the world. Just because I was born and raised in the good old USA where there is basically no following for this almost scoreless game, I like to think outside of the box, so color me a World Cup fanatic.
There is something to be said for a game that can last a few hours and only a point or two is scored. No wonder the fans of futbol are so rabid. If their team scores a goal, they can almost guarantee a win, no matter how many hours are left in the game. 

Granted the Games taking place in sunny Brazil don't hold a stick to the tension produced by our annual Family game of bocce. Seriously, can you see the concentration on my wife as she tosses a blue bocce? Do you see the tension that is obvious in the face of my brother and I? Like futbol, bocce is some serious business. There was a lot riding on this somewhat docile game. (No there wasn't.)
Unlike fĂștbol, in bocce the scoring is out of control.


Did you see where former President Bush senior celebrated his 90th birthday recently by jumping out of a perfectly good plane, in tandem, with another parachutist? I'm sorry, but that was a bit awkward. To watch, as well as the landing. The Pres is not in the best of health these days and if anyone wants to hear my opinion, his jumping days should be behind him.