“The Last Ship” on TNT

Being a seasoned Navy veteran you might understand why I would like a show like this. My wife, also a seasoned Navy veteran by association, also likes it. For both of us it evokes many fond memories of being aboard a ship.

The plot of the show is appealing, also. Many times while watching it I think about how I feel, at age 71, I could go to sea and do my job. It won’t ever happen, of course, but I really think I could do it. Kinda like those old guys did in the movie “Battleship” when they took the USS Missouri to sea.

After watching a number episodes of “The Last Ship”, however, I became very disappointed to see that virtually all of the main players are Ensigns or Lieutenants. They men and women officers “man” all the stations in CIC, Sonar, and Radio which is, to me, so far beyond reality that I find it humorous.

The exceptions to the all officer cast are the Command Master Chief, the 2nd Class baker, and the Chief Corspman. You see them a lot. There’s a Senior Chief in there, also, but he turned out to be one of the bad guys which distressed me a great deal because I used to be one of those. I have no memory of being a bad guy so I can’t relate.

Although the number of officers performing jobs normally done by seasoned enlisted folks is, to me, unrealistic, I find it an entertaining show and will be sad to see it end. I  try to rationalize the number of officers performing critical tasks with the thought that, since this is the last ship, all the really good enlisted folks were promoted to those positions. Either that, or it’s been so long since I’ve been aboard a ship that they are indeed manned in this manner.

Not knowing the reason for the manning problem doesn’t stop me from watching and I give this one 4 stars.

Specs, Food, County Fair, & a Luau

Although the prescription on my VA glasses didn’t run out, technically rendering me blind, one of the bows broke off which accomplished the same end result. The glasses they gave me don’t stay on one’s face very well with only one bow hooked over an ear. Therefore, I resorted to an older version from 2013 that seems to work OK with the exception it kinda sucks on my right eye a bit due to the corrective difference I lost with the newer specs. But, they stay on my face and eliminate any possibility of embarrassing Diane due to a glasses mishap. And, I can see well enough to safely drive my self around town.

Speaking of driving … I’ve been doing that with the old pickup lately and it works just great. As you may remember, I left it with Gannon Thomas so he could work on the transmission because it wasn’t behaving as well as I thought it should. Turns out I was correct because Gannon said when he pulled the pan off, all the clutch plates were laying handily in it eliminating the need to remove them manually. All he had to do was dismantle the transmission and rebuild it from the ground up. Total cost … $1400. Cheaper than a new one. Committing to this expense provided the motivation I need to get to work on the truck and make it pretty so Diane will ride in it. Since I’ve had the truck for the past 15 or 20 years, I view this as a long-range project so don’t hold your breath waiting for updates. Then again, perhaps that motivation will speed things up. We’ll see.

Diane worked at the St. Helens Senior Center last Tuesday with the Bethany Ladies, serving the noon meal. I help with that sometimes but didn’t that day because no one asked me. I may have been involved in something else. Who knows?

Last Wednesday the Columbia County Fair opened, celebrating its 100th year which is pretty significant. I don’t think there were any original revelers in attendance. At least none that I could see.

Diane and I attended the opening ceremony in which I participated with a group of VFW and American Legion members who conducted a flag raising ceremony amidst a group composed of at least one State Senator and various other County Officials, not the least of which was Henry, The Comish, who MC’d the event.

Prior to raising the flag, I had the honor of golfing with Doug and Junior and decided to actually count every stroke and not try the risky shots just to see what would happen. Turns out that’s the better way to do it because I actually did pretty good. I also wore an elastic sleeve on my left elbow which, I’m sure, helped a great deal to keep that errant part of my anatomy straight. Now I’m going to wear it every time I golf and see what happens. If you don’t hear any more about this in future posts, it means that I’m just destined to be a crappy golfer and that this last effort was totally out of character for me. An anomaly.

Yesterday Diane made a run around town, and to Scappoose, for some important “stuff” and I stayed home and did important “things”. Sadly, I can’t remember the “things” except for the part where I took a nap. When she returned we got ourselves ready to make a trip to Brush Prairie, WA to attend a luau at Don & Linda’s house with our PT Cruiser friends. It’ always great to see those folks. We always have a great time.

Now it’s Monday and getting on toward afternoon so I feel another nap coming on. This one is necessary in order to ready myself for a pot luck supper at McCormick Park with our Lions club. Cedric, Jennifer, and our neighbor, Scott, are also going because their two families deserted the area and went to Camp Tadmor down south.

Did I mention that our weather has been horrendously hot for the last couple of months? More so lately? No? Well, it has. Our days for the past couple of weeks have been running in the 90’s and sometimes into triple digit territory. For this old Oregonian, anything above 75 is generally lethal. Odd, though, how daily doses of 90+ can make 80 feel nice.

Hope everyone has a great week.

Birthdays, and Soccer

Another Sunday has already come and gone with barely a shimmer that didn’t disturb the dust in my brain hardly at all. Nope. Not even a little bit. That’s partly because we were out of town for 4 of those 7 days doing stuff that I’ll probably eventually get around to. I didn’t tell anyone about that trip because I didn’t want anyone coming over to rob me. It wouldn’t have done any good anyway because Jeran was standing guard for us and he had the dogs for back up.

Monday was a celebration day because it was Heather’s birthday. This is the West Coast Heather, not the East Coast one, in case you were wondering, mother of Gilligan, for further clarification. Jeff’s wife. Now you know. We had an impromptu party in their driveway where we played with the kids and Heather opened her gifts. We weren’t allowed to spank her, the normal way of celebrating birthdays, because she’s somewhere in the 30’s now and it would have left marks, then the police would get involved, we’d have to hire a lawyer, I’d go to jail for a couple of weeks and miss our trip out of town, then Jeran wouldn’t have stayed with the dogs, Diane would have filed for divorce which would involve another lawyer, and all of our friends would have stopped talking to us making life just miserable. So, we dropped the spanking part. It wasn’t worth all that hassle.

On Tuesday, July 7th, our first Great Grandson, Draiden Jeffrey was born at 0809. I just found out today and don’t have any particulars other than he has medical issues that will require treatment but they are fixable.  I ask that you pray for his recovery. Here he is being held by his oldest sister, Danyell, and his younger sister Juliette. IMG_2070IMG_2069Adorable, right? I must add that his Aunts Gilligan, Baylee, and Jerrie can’t wait to see him. Another not of interest, to some, is that age-wise, the six children listed fall in to line nicely in this manner, from oldest to youngest … Gilligan, Danyell, Baylee, Juliette, Jerrie, and Draiden. Almost like a perfect shuffle. I think.

Wednesday evening we went to Hillsboro to watch Lydia’s Crush team play against the St. Helens High School team. An interesting point it that Lydia is the head Keeper for both teams. This night, however, she was devoted to the Crush which won the night 5-1, or thereabouts. It was a good prelude for the weekend where the Crush participated in the Nike Crossfire tournament in Bellevue, WA. That’s what got us out of town for the weekend.

For us it started around 1330 Thursday afternoon when we loaded our car, picked up extra luggage at Daniel & Jennifer’s and headed north into Microsoft territory. We stayed at the Econo Lodge in Renton, about 30 minutes from the fields, because it was the only reasonable place remaining by the time we decided to go. It worked out OK. Daniel, Cedric and Jennifer stayed there, too, so it was kind of a family thing. Lydia stayed at the hoy faloy Silver Cloud Inn in downtown Bellevue with her team. Nice place. The matches began Friday afternoon.

The venue is a 60 acre park marked off with 24 soccer fields. Quite stunning. All of them were in use at the same time throughout the three days we were there, from 0800 in the morning to 2000 at night. It was a busy place. Apparently it’s a tournament where college scouts flock to view recruiting prospects. Making it more challenging for our girls’ 17U team, they were paired against 19U teams for all three scheduled games. We don’t know why.

Lydia’s first game was Friday afternoon at 1630. She played absolutely great, helping to hold their opponents scoreless during the first half. She made lots of stops, many of which would have made local native Hope Solo very proud. Here’s a sequence of one save that I actually caught with the camera … time elapsed was about 3 seconds …DSC_3577DSC_3578DSC_3579DSC_3580DSC_3581DSC_3582DSC_3583DSC_3584DSC_3585DSC_3586DSC_3587DSC_3588Watching this was kind of like watching a horse race … all the action is in the last few seconds. Amazing. She did stuff like this for the entire first half. In the second half the alternate keeper thought it was her turn in the box so went out and the coach didn’t notice until the other team scored two goals within the first couple of minutes. He then inserted Lydia who kept them at bay with the exception of one well place kick. Her team scored 1 so they lost 3-1. The talk of the day was what would have happened if Lydia had played the second half which was what was supposed to happen. We will never know, of course, but we can speculate. It was a learning experience. This will happen again next November. What fun. I have to add that the older players were pretty intimidating and played as though their coaching involved various ways to cheat, punch, poke, and shove in ways that got past the umpires most of the time. Sad it wasn’t as much as about the sport and ability as it was about getting away with “stuff”.

On a happier note, here’s a pretty fabulous Moon Rise over Mt. Hood you may enjoy … DSC_3464… and here’s a water tank in Renton that was disguised as part of the forest …IMG_2064It’s a crappy photo because I took it through the windshield with my phone as we drove past. Pretty tricky painting.

On another light note, we discovered that our XM radio truncates things at pretty interesting places …IMG_2067On Saturday Diane and I went to see “Minions” while everyone else went to Seattle with the girls. We enjoyed the movie and have been saying “BA-na-na” quite frequently. Cute movie and a good way to while away a hot afternoon.

On Sunday morning, after the final game, we packed up and headed home. The dogs were happy to see us as we were them, proving once again that no matter how much fun you may have away from home, it’s always the best feeling when you get home.

Golf, Musical Instruments, Wedded Bliss, & Fireworks

My prolific nature has run its course, it seems, because I can’t seem to conjure up topics, much less all the words needed, to do a daily post. Perhaps if I kept them short and simple I could, but I can’t do that, either. So, I’m just going to start flinging words out willy-nilly each Sunday afternoon to see if that resonates with me as a suitable routine.

On June 28th, a Friday, Cedric and I participated in a golf tournament for his church. The other two in our foursome were Shawn and Leonard, both of whom profess to play golf about once a year. I gotta tell you, however, for casual golfers they both can hit the ball a long ways. Way longer than me or Cedric. I think Cedric and I tied off the tee box for hitting past the women’s tee box consistently. That was our goal, of course. It’s one of the finer points of golf I instilled in Cedric’s bag of tricks. It’s just a bad day all around when a golf, no matter how bad they may be, can’t hit a drive beyond the Red tee markers. Once in the fairway we all plodded along fairly well, making it to the green with birdie chances many times, but only cashing in once. We did this because it was a simple Scramble format where all golfers hit from the location of the best hit ball in each instance. In the end, we wound up last at 4 over par, a score I’d take any day of the week. The winner won with 2 under par. So, we were only 6 strokes off the trophy and I think we’re both OK with that. Cedric drove most of the time and did a stellar job.

Here’s proof Cedric can drive. I’m making a copy of this so he can take it to DMV. It’s my understanding that no other proof of ability is necessary in Oregon.IMG_2015

This is Cedric just before hitting his drive on #8.IMG_2013On Monday, the 29th, we had a visit from an Anderson Windows salesman to get an estimate to replace all of our windows. Turns out windows aren’t cheap any more as the initial bid came out at $52,200. Of course there were discounts for multiple window installs (we have 16), and another discount for agreeing to have the work done right now. That brought the estimate down to $33K+, still a bit steep for we who live on a fixed income. We need windows in the living room, however, and the kitchen windows are kinda weird, so we went for a 3-fur deal. They will be constructed precisely to fit the openings and installed within 6-8 weeks.

On Tuesday, the 30th, Jeff and three of his friends show up to pick up the Lowry organ that’s been languishing in the garage for the past 6-7 years, and to move the player piano I plan to restore to the basement that’s been in the garage a little bit longer. To put things into perspective, Jeff, on the right, when he’s standing up straight, is between 6’2″ and 6’3″. So, we had hefty help which was beneficial because the piano had to be moved down the road, into the side yard, then all the way around the house to the basement. We used two pieces of plywood, moving from one to the other, then moving the back piece to the front. In all, the back piece of plywood was moved to the front approximately 72 times making the entire trip about 200 yards, give or take a 100. I’m just guessing, but it was a long ways.IMG_2016

While in the early stages of getting the piano out of the garage, Diane returned prematurely and just drove out onto our meticulously manicured yard. I know, it’s pretty much dead at the moment, but you should see it when it rains, something that hasn’t happened here in a couple of months.IMG_2017On July 1st, Daniel and Jennifer celebrated 20 years of marital bliss. That surprises lots of people because Jennifer doesn’t even look 20 years old yet. But, it’s true. Since they are both working similar shifts, Daniel at Intel, and Jennifer at Nike, they did a proper celebration when one of Daniel’s friends flew them to Pacific Beach in his private plane. They had a great time, and, I’m told, a terrible lunch. Still, it’s a memory for the ages. We’re very proud of our Baby Girl in her accomplishments during those 20 years.

At 2 p.m. on July 4th I participated in a nationwide bell ringing ceremony to commemorate our Independence. I did this with other members of American Legion Post 42 in St. Helens who were stationed at all the big bells we could find around town.  Once again, as I did last year, I had the honor of ringing the Warrior Rock Lighthouse Bell which has a colorful history. The bell resides in a half-size replica of the original lighthouse that sits in front of the old courthouse, where Wynette worked most of her life. I rang the bell 13 times while Diane stood beside me to ensure I got the count correct. Later that evening we returned to a spot on a residential street that overlooks the marina and has an unobstructed view of Sand Island where the fireworks are ignited. Check Google Maps for 90 Wyeth Street St. Helens, Oregon if you want to see where we were.

The fireworks started at 10 p.m. and lasted until 11 or so. It was pretty nice but got us to bed far later than normal. But, we made it up in time to go to church this morning so there’s still hope we won’t be struck by lightning any time soon. To end the day, after eating more than necessary at Zhen’s, we watched the USA Soccer Ladies win the day. It was pretty awesome.

Hope everyone had a safe 4th of July celebration.