Archive for October, 2019

Why all the chest pounding?

Sunday, October 27th, 2019

As I write about a meeting we just finished, as we head home on interstate expressways to a placid little town of about 10,000 people where I’m surrounded by lakes and orange trees, I think a person who didn’t see what we saw yesterday might wonder .. what’s everybody pounding their chests for? I’ve felt that while listening attentively to Admirals, commanders and unqualified young teenagers studying systems in order to “pass quals”. What’s all this about.? Yesterday a group of us who had been prescreened, assembled at the “Goat Locker” the Chiefs Club. I asked why Is it called the goat locker? The answer left me puzzled, “because chiefs are called goats”. Ok. So then a US Navy bus came with 2 Navy police and 1 sailor from the SS Maryland. We got on the bus with no cell phones and no exercise wrist bands.. and we were escorted by a security car to the dock. Where is it? We got over to the water and there she was .. a big dark grey half submerged war ship. That was my first WOW! She is huge! The Maryland is a Boomer. I never understood what that meant until we climbed down 3 levels and our guide, in for 18 years and sharp and handsome, said here they are. I reached out and touched, “is this concrete?” Yes. There are 24 of them. Concrete tubes, missile silos full of nuclear missiles capable of traveling thousands of miles steered by sophisticated GPS tracking. I kept touching it. Our young man “Thompson” took us on to two rooms where constant measurements are underway even in Port… Where we are and where “they” are. Thompson said, “we are constantly hiding. If we pick up any sounds other than whales, we run. We are strictly defensive.” In another room full of computers 2 young men told how they are constantly checking the missiles and one of them is making calculations. If they get an order it has to be verified and authorized 3 times before a missile can be shot. By now I’m petrified and terrified. We have young men (ok they are in their late 30s and early 40s) plotting courses on nuclear boomers. One of our sailors said, “we should bring Puten to see this.” Needless to say, I had a nightmare last night. We thanked our guide “Thompson” and everybody else we passed (oh by the way, at one point, stepping over beds that protruded into the passageways! )… Thanked and thanked! And blessed them too. We are headed home now. And the news on TV is that some brave young men tracked an ISIS leader into cave and killed him. Pray for peace. Maybe if we ALL pray. God bless us. Angels with us.

Was that just this morning?

Friday, October 25th, 2019

At 8am we drove over to the host hotel and got on a van to go to the Trident Training Center and join in the Memorial Ceremony that I documented as it happened. I wrote my last post as Admiral Holland spoke… I remembered our talk from the previous day and I put in some of my reactions. It is really unedited. One thing I straightened out is the name of the class of submarine to come out in 2028 is Columbia. A class of boat defines its length, width, height, weight and a lot of other capabilities and attributes. Chuck was on a diesel/Guppy sub. That actually was a class back then. Today there are fast attacks, boomers, trident missiles and tomahawk missile submarines and it goes on. Today’s heavy hitter is the Virginia class, and “tomorrow’s heavy hitter” due out in 2028 is the “Columbia class.”

After the ceremony today we went into the Trident Training center and were shown the fire training and water training facilities. Rather than train on a sub there are simulators. There is a giant vat of water and lots of pipes that spring leaks and floods. Those in training have to fix the leaks under leak conditions. Big torrents of water might flood the compartment and they have to fix the leaks. Same with the fire fighters. We saw a torpedo and its loading tube and a diesel engine (for auxiliary power, and to be used in case of a reactor failure). WOW! That was exhausting! We were then driven back to Pirates Galley for lunch. Hamburgers, chili, and all kinds of other good stuff including ice cream. Then we went to the Base Exchange which is like a Target or Walmart except we sailors get discounts. I didn’t buy anything as…. I can still see all that stuff we unpacked at home. Then we went back to Trident Training Center and actually sat for an hour and waited for the crowds (there are 400 people attending this memorial weekend) to come for dinner. We headed upstairs in the training center where tables were set up end to end to serve 400 people. I was amazed at how seamless everything was. Everytime we all got together this week there were ceremonies. We watched sailors receive their Dolphins (that means they qualified) and sailors reenlists. And we clapped a lot in congratulations. Dinner was a huge steak with veggies, and a lot of other stuff. I ate 1/2 and put my steak aside. Chuck said, “get a salad bowl and we’ll take it with us.” I had a plastic bag from Chuck’s purchase in the Navy Exchange so I put his steak and mine in a bowl with onions and mushrooms and put a bowl on top and put the whole delicious mess into a plastic bag. It is now in our refrigerator and will be our sandwich for the trip home on Sunday.

Am I done yet? Nope. We have been with our sub group most of the time (the base Chuck leads called Pelican Harbor) so there was a lot of sharing with people we knew including our own WWII veteran and his daughter who drove him up to Georgia. We sat and talked with them and with one of our van drivers who joined us and had a beer as he was “off duty.” Throughout the week, we have had conversations with young sailors, men and females alike, and the Commander of the Trident Training Center. We listen to them tell of the way things are in 2019, and then our guys tell them “how it was” in the 40s, 50s and 60s. There is a lot of exchange and respect on both side young for old and old for young. Finally it was time to go, but wait!!!! Chuck and a guy started talking about the base at Cape Canaveral and the weapons facility there… I said finally, why don’t we go in and have a beer. So in we went to the hospitality room and I bought 1/2 and 1/2 tickets. I won nothing all weekend… Finally, after a wonderful conversation with the Commander of the Training Center and his wife… finally it was bedtime. And so… we are back in the hotel. Chuck is having hot chocolate and I am closing this memoir!!! God bless America. Angels with us!

Navy Life

Friday, October 25th, 2019

Yesterday I made a mistake about Commander Perez. He is Commander of a sub group. He was commanding officer of the USS Georgia and USS New Mexico. Today our speaker at the Submarine Veterans of WWII Memorial was Admiral Holland. Both gentlemen started by saying they could go on all day until called off into their next meeting! They are enthused and excited to serve and command our military Navy and Marines. Yesterday Commander Perez went on for 2 hours, speaking of WWII War patrols, WWII departed, current activities, and future growth while we continue to build our Navy to protect America.
It’s important to take stock of how we are doing, keeping count, petitioning for budget, making plans to protect America. Speakers ranged in subject from WWII to 2028 when our newest submarine, now in construction, will be released for sea duty to go to impossible places and to keep turning the tide for peace and freedom. In 2028 the sailors will be brothers and sisters “of the phin” as today we talk of WWII veterans as “brothers of the phin”.
We have a lot of work to do to keep ahead of Chinese and Russian competition in what we can call this 2nd Cold War. Words repeated these 2 days and probably tonight at the steak dinner and tomorrow as we tour a submarine… Perseverance, endurance, prevail, giving all, Columbia class (the newest), challenge, budget.
We called the roll of lost boats and tolled the bell for 65 lost subs and lost British subs. God bless America. Angels with us.

How many, How much?

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

Today our speaker is Chief of Staff Submarine Group 10. The underwater defence of our country is impressive… We are “Combat Ready to Preserve the Peace”… The young men I see here at the base are averaging 20 years old to 40 years old. They are so proud and respectful of our old guys. They are in great shape! A COB sat with us at breakfast and I couldn’t believe how much he ate! He told us he has 2 children, one Air Force and one Navy. He is an empty nester at age 40. I thought to myself, “He’s 40, looks great and is in great shape.” At age 40 he is chief of a “boat” a nuclear submarine! Something I learned today: Men introduce themselves as Alaska gold or Alaska blue. The submarines are under the water about 11 months a year but with 2 separate teams. So when they dock for refitting or maintenance a whole new team gets on in a “crew exchange” and “qualifies on all systems.” A month later, they are “off again.” It’s an interesting life … Definition of a submariner… “A person who operates sh** you can’t” … Submariners have attitude!

CO of Georgia and CO of New Mexico, Captain George Perez has served for 34 years and has been CO of Kings Bay for a year. Iraqui Freedom and Afganistan are under his belt and he wants to talk about “our submarines at Kings Bay!” Our strategic concerns are Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. No kidding. He said “you who finished WWII, and served during the Cold War, we are right back where we started.” We are pushing development to stay ahead of Putin who is testing ballistic missiles during exercises and breaking treaties, in a global power competition… “This is the world our submarine force is operating in, but it is still is ours!” I’d say, sleep well tonight and know “America’s best have your 6″… God bless you. Angels with you.

Not “this man’s Navy” any more

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

Breakfast at the Pirates Cove Base Galley (not the mess)… With many uniformed men and women… About 10 Chiefs of Boat (COBs) and higher talked to us about their departments. This Navy is training women on submarines and refitting nuclear submarines to carry female enlisted and officers. This Navy is training constantly, refitting boats, and watching very carefully the waters all over the world. There is a submarine in for refitting that we might be able to visit. It all depends on “conditions”. Chuck and I are are scheduled for Saturday afternoon to tour the submarine that is in dock. They always say, “Will let you know” based on conditions…. This afternoon we will attend a presentation by the Chief of Staff of Sub Group 10 and then we go back to the base for a Barbeque. All is well and we are in good hands from the Kings Bay Submarine Base! God bless us! Angels with us!

What happens to time?

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

When I wrote my last post I had ridden my bike around the neighborhood for 2 days and I loved it! Now it is about 5 days later and every day has been full with no bike riding! Yesterday we came to Kingsland, Georgia for a WWII Submarine memorial and I swam in the pool for 45 minutes!!! It’s not really swimming; it’s more water aerobics, but at least it’s movement! Amazing how days go by and even though I move around, there isn’t real stretching!!!! Today I will get back into the pool and hope to continue for the week. Starting Thursday morning with breakfast in the “mess”, we will have lots of amazing events at the Nuclear Submarine Base in Kingsland, Georgia. It is very convenient to drive here from Lake Placid, Florida (our new home) only about 5 hours with an over night stay with Renee, it cuts the trip in half. Last night we drove into St Mary’s for dinner, and it seems there are double the amount of Halloween decorations as there were last year! I’m not sure, we have to go back today and look in the day light! When I finally woke up at 830 this morning, I found Chuck drinking his 10teenth cup of coffee and taking with a nuclear sub sailor named Tim. The stories have begun, and will continue until Sunday when we leave to go back home! We stilll have lots to do at home, but it is mostly putting things away in a mini storage …. like winter clothes (half to the homeless, half into drawers) and paintings or pictures, (some on walls but many onto shelves….). I’ve unpacked the art room boxes, but not put all away onto shelves and drawers. Will do a lot next week. I’m serving next week at All Saints and All Souls Masses where we pray for those gone from us… Remember family and friends who are in God’s arms. God bless us! Angels with us.

Submarine stories

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Remember ? 52 years ago? That’s when Chuck “drank his dolphins” because he had finished all the on board training to “qualify” as a submarine sailor. He still has his “quals” document, a sturdy piece of paper that he was able to keep, that lists all the systems he had to be able to work and many men signed in pencil!!! I’ll bet today quals are on a laptop!!! Today we begin talking to submariners in Kingsland/St Mary’s Georgia and we celebrate the men (many who who lied about their ages ) to join the submarine service to serve in WWII. Thank you gentlemen for helping to preserve the freedoms we enjoy today in the United States. God bless our sailors.

Bike riding and other forms of exercise

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

Oh? Are there other forms of exercise? I finally asked Chuck to fill my bike tires and went out for the first time in about a year yesterday. From our house to the end of the street is “up hill.” I was panting… That’s about 1/2 a block. I guess the reason is, the canal and lake are lower than the main street through our neighborhood; “Placid Lakes Boulevard” is higher… Anyhow, yesterday I huffed and puffed my way to the top of the street and then back down to the other end of the street which is a cul de sac. I can go up and down all the streets and not find cars except the Fed Ex man stalked me today when I went back out. I got into some dust in the art room and sneezed myself silly and then I decided I need some fresh air. Back to work now…. I am putting out paints that have been packed up since May and lining up colors, brushes, mediums, sponges, and all kinds of stuff artists use to paint with. I also have a lot of piles and canvasses to sort through and organize. I had 2 big closets to hide things in in the last art room! Chuck is hanging pictures in our bedroom as well as building shelves in the garage. Things are shaping up. Boxes all unpacked. What is missing is odd: socks, alarm clock, nail polish remover, cotton balls. Where’s the common denominator? Are they hiding in the shed????

I’m still loving our new church. I went to a Bible Study today. I have attended 3 sessions on Acts chapters 8, 9, and 10. Excellent study. Also we are reading Romans in daily Masses. I am very happy with the intellectual stimulation and pending art fest that is going to take place here in my new art room. As soon as I find…. no Im just kidding. All the art stuff seems to have turned up. God bless us. Angels with us!!!!

Measure once cut twice… and others

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Chuck and I are like an old married couple. Together forever, telling the same stories. He came to me while I was sorting Rosaries… and he asked if I felt strong. “No….” Well I’m honest. It was “just” to carry a board left on the dock when the men built the dock… last year? He’s going to make a shelf. We jointly carried the board with me complaining mightily and wondering if Simon of Cyrene complained so much…. and then we got the sawhorses and I asked, “How long do you need it?” Apparently placement of the sawhorses depends on the length of the board. Chuck looked at me with a bothered look on his face. “Measure once, cut twice!” I enjoined (as in “direct or prescribe”)… We cut the wood and I then disappeared back to my pile of Rosaries. I’ve sorted table cloths and underwear… folded sheets to make them smaller to fit into the linen closet, boxed up dishes and glasses for the church sale and now…. having not found the socks yet, I’m eyeing the last of Chuck’s boxes…. But they are full of military looking stuff and Highway Patrol (believe it or not) gas masks. Maybe I ought to just go sockless until…. they just show up, tired of hiding.

Today I served at Mass and got everything all set up until I did not hand the 93 year old priest the chalices… I don’t like to see him interrupted as then he has to recollect…. So he pointed and said “chalices” and I grinned a silly grin…. oops! I guess all else went well. I rang the bells loud, and no one complained. They are probably grateful they don’t have to get to the church at 8am for 9am Mass! Then do the dishes afterwards. It’s one day a week, once I get it right, it will be fine. Well, back to my domestic business. The next project is hanging pictures and then…. organizing the art room - no easy feat as I had 2 big closets in the last art room…. Is there a patron saint for “more space?” God bless you; Angels with us!

Just can’t keep from grinning!

Monday, October 14th, 2019

I realized as I made the slight left onto Washington towards church this morning that I was grinning in the wind as I traveled down the curvy road to church. My teeth were all exposed and I was singing along with the radio and, well, It isn’t Bird Road or 107 Avenue!!! Church is pretty full. At least 30 at daily Mass and all good people. I grin at them. They probably wonder why I seem so wierd. I found a “back road” along a lake into town. All roads are “around lakes!” Today a new Cardinal was celebrated on EWTN. He was a priest in Lithuania working to stop Russian persecution of the church in 1978 and in 1983 he was jailed in Siberia to forced labor. His fellow prisoners said, “Prison is easy for you because you have faith.” He was finally freed, and after 50 years of persecution and Communism, with freedon for Lithuania, the priest, now a Catholic Cardinal said, “after 50 years of Communism, we kept our faith.” What’s not to sing about? Jesus said, there is something greater than Jonah here… Little children know Jonah was held in the belly of a great whale and then he was spit out on Ninevah to convert the Ninevites. So my dears… Let us know “what is greater than Jonah here.”

This weekend was amazing. We attended Octoberfest and sang and danced and ate too much and talked with parishoners. A lady our friend Glenda worked with in Miami is my friend at church!!!! Small world. I attended an Emmaus meeting. What a group of holy women! I will speak next meeting for 15 minutes or less…. right… yikes! how am I going to keep it down to less than 15??? …. Busy with emptying the last of the boxes and getting them to my friend who is packing her house to sell…. We think we have the last of the boxes, although there are some with man things in them in Chuck’s “bar room.” I still haven’t found the socks! I need to send a text to my renter to say…. look in the closet drawers and see if there’s one full of socks. There is a saint to pray to for lost socks… He comes from Cornwall in England. Saint Madron. Patron Saint of Lost Socks. I am going through all the necklaces I’ve collected over the years…. Everywhere we go, Chuck buys for me and I have boxes and boxes. I’m trying to streamline and I’ll get the rest down to my friend Kathie for sale in her antique store. All is coming along here… I got black birds on my bird feeder. While I would prefer colorful birds, I figure they will come!!!! God bless us. Angels with us!!!!

“Pajamas and a wine glass”

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

In the penultimate box, marked “Sue Art”, I found Emmaus tee shirts, exercise tops and leggings, 3 ice cube trays, one of Chuck’s bar trays full of pencils, pajamas (nightgowns) and 2 dressing gowns, and a wine glass. Oh and a basket full of big green and beige roap wrapped Christmas balls. I know I packed this box as it’s all my stuff, but “Sue Art”? and the wine glass all wrapped in a long nightie!? I long all right to go outside to the dock, but my friend Karla said “No drinking before 5pm.” Ack! Oh well, I like the Christmas balls…….

Alas. We were all holding our breaths. Under the tray? …. socks? Nope. just more pesky pencils. The last box in the art room: Drumroll:….. The last on earth copies of Alphabet Soup for Christian Living and Christmas CDs.

Chuck says there are more boxes in the bar room. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! Actually it’s 5 o’clock in Lake Placid! To the dock with that wine glass, a bottle, and an opener. “Oh CHUCK!!!!! bring a glass!” God bless us! Angels with us!

6 boxes left…. HO Boy!!!!

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

Funny. The last box I unpacked that said “art room” yielded our 3rd blender and 3 crock pots. That box must have been packed on one of those days that Dave and Drew came over and Chuck invited everyone for “a beer.” After that, it all seemed like art. Most people don’t have 3 can openers, 3 crock pots, 2 exactly matching sets of soup pots (in 3 sizes per set), but remember, Chuck and I bought houses with all their contents from 2 very domestic women, Aunt Trudy and Loretta. And we eventually stored everything in the very commodious Lake House. So whose idea was it to move into a 2 bedroom house in Lake Placid? I think we have to blame this one on Glenda who lives across the canal and down a few houses. Her summer home was practically empty and it drew at me. What am I gonna do when I fill that last shelf in the garage???? My friend Karen would offer me black plastic bags and big garbage bins. I am using “Good will” commodiously and will drop it all off at the church when I get desperate. We have had no visitors today, and I haven’t had to tell any salesmen we are poor. That really tends to throw off a saleman’s pitch! The socks have not showed up yet. … Makes me wrinkle up my forehead and I don’t want a wrinkly forehead to go along with my baggy eyes! Well for now my dears… TaTa! God bless you. Angels with us.

“England, France, and Underpants”

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

No really! This is what I said yesterday afternoon when I unearthed a giant file full of maps and trip ideas for European countries we have been to and loved… England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Israel, …. I was so tired at the time that this just leaped out of me, “England, France and Underpants.” I wish I could tell you I dumped it all in the trash because the 5 drawer file cabinet is full, but Chuck took a look at me and headed for the Aleve bottle and said, “You throw that away and someone is going to give you a free trip to Europe.” Really. So I took the Aleve and then kept an old ugly brown filing table I used to use in the Miami art room and put the fles in it.
Europe is now successfully stored in case someone sends us free tickets…. Oh! and then I found two boxes of files full of “art ideas” who also went into the brown file holder. So … then the doorbell rang. Aleve was working so I was able to get to the door without incident and a man holding an American flag greeted me, “You have a submariner in the family?” He went on to express his “Thanks for your service” to Chuck and then proceeded to try to sell us a vaccume cleaner. It looked good… anything to keep the dust bunnies at bay. We found our first dust bunny yesterday too…. Then the doorbell rang again. A friend from church came to help fix the sprinklers. What a nice dude!!! He too is a submariner! He took one look at the vaccume cleaner, now out of the box, being proudly explained by the sales person, and he said, slowly, “Oh I have one of those”…. long pause. I looked at his sour face and asked, “how is it?” and he honestly replied, “way overpriced.” … gulp … was that me or the salesman gulping, looking at each other? So I told the salesman honestly (lots of honesty going on in the room), “I don’t have any money. We put everything into buying this house. I coudn’t pay my Visa bill last month and I had to borrow $1000 from a friend. So, why don’t we just say, your presentation was nice, but maybe I’ll see you next year in the store?” He bundled up his gear and repacked his box. I gave him a bottle of water and escorted him out the door. Meanwhile, Chuck and his new submarine friend were outside doing what men do… looking at sprinklers and discussing the problem very seriously. Finally we all went out to the dock and sat for a while. Our new friend only drinks soft drinks, but after the days I’m having, I’m chugging wine and not being embarassed about it!!! Chuck and I continued until dark. No mosquitoes and lots of breeze blowing in from the east. My last duty was dinner which was a grilled pork and cheese sandwich and ice cream. I’ve succumbed to ice cream so I’m developing a pot belly. Life is really wierd right now. … Well it’s tomorrow (Wednesday) and I servied as Sacristan (which is like a set up altar boy clean up person) this morning. I left the tops on the water and wine so the priest had to take the tops off. My hands were full so we just put them on the Altar. Ack! You have heard of stress sweat? …. All else went well. I’m a vigorous bell ringer. No tinkling bells here! Go and serve today!!!!! All is well here in Lake Placid. God bless us. Angels with us.

Many Saints celebrated

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

This week in the church is so wonderful with celebrations of St Jerome who translated Scripture into Latin so it isn’t lost for us. He died 1600 years ago. That means the Latin translation still living today, is 1600 years old. It amazes me and makes me feel grateful to know Scripture, and to hold it in my hand. The priest who said Mass today on EWTN said Scripture should make us tremble…. Tuesday we celebrated St Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus who said, I can put my head against your heart Lord, because it is my heart. To believe the Lord’s heart is my heart! Breathtaking! He likes us!!!! He cherishes us and wants us to put our head against his chest. We celebrated the feast day of our Guardian angel yesterday. The Lord said to the people fleeing Egypt, “I will send my angel before you to guide you and protect you.” Do we think he didn’t mean that? The Exodus story tells of the big pillar of cloud and smoke that guided them through the desert… When the cloud stopped, they stopped, and when it started, they started. We might not have something so visible today, but we do have the Word of God in Scripture and the church. Today we celebrated the reading of the Word to the people who came out of captivity in Babylon back to Jerusalem. Ezra stood up on a platform and read to the people from sunrise to noon and the people wept! I am sure if we believe “He likes us”… we would weep too! God and Creator of all this world, the stars and clouds and sky and me. Wow! Tomorrow is the celebration of St Francis of Assisi who loved God and took God’s word seriously… St Francis gave up everything and took nothing out to preach. He took God’s words in Luke 10:1-12 seriously. Be a lamb among wolves… take nothing… And we thank God today for the lives of amazing people who taught us! and who teach us today.

I’m still waiting and unpacking…. waiting for the plumber who is coming at 9:30, unpacking boxes that all say art room. I had a lot of stuff stored in my art room closets…. My sister Sarah has an art room too and I saw a lot of stuff stacked up! We artists pick up stuff to turn into art and the stuff stacks up! Oh the joyful excitement of a blank canvas and a pile of stuff and paint to put on it!!!! It’s beautiful here in Lake Placid and yesterday I saw 3 great brown egrets peacefully strolling across the road…. I’m still waiting for birdies to come to my bird feeder. Chuck was sent to therapy for the numbness in his leg. Both doctor and therapist say pinched nerve… and now he is giving blood and getting carotid arteries checked. He is happy with this new doctor. All is well. God bless us!

New things

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

I drive all over Lake Placid using a local map. Many roads don’t “go through” due to the many lakes in Lake Placid! In Miami I knew what roads didn’t go through like 102 avenue and of course the whole circular pathways we have to take to get from Bird Road to Kendall. … Here it’s lakes and there are hills around the lakes! Today we meet the first new doctor. Chuck is the guinea pig to try out our choice of general practice physician. He teaches medicine at the FSU Fort Pierce Regional campus and there is a commendation in the waiting room.. And after our visit with him .. I like him a lot!!! I made an appointment for me after the next CT scan. . I’ve asked many people about doctors and everybody has a favorite! Never the same one. I got a glowing recommendation for a cardiac doctor in Seabring in the Advent health group… I might try there! That will take care of the insides. Need to find dentist and eye doctor! All new. Be ready for change if you decide to move! And be ready to examine your life… All the miniscule needs like, how many of these do I really need!!! That’s what I go through every day. Today is shoes. How many pairs of sneakers and slippers do I really need? Yikes!!! Today is the feast day of St Therese… She led the simple life. Simple!!! Only God. And a few angels. God bless us.