Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Where does the time go? January 2007 is gone and February is going fast too! Guess when you’re having as good a time as we are, things just happen pretty damn quick. Wonder if it could be time flies, the older you get……

Had three (3) things that really stand out for the month:

(1) On January 26th Ava Grace Burbach was born to Katie and Brandon. The first grand-daughter is here. I’m not lying when I tell you she is absolutely beautiful! Ava popped into the world – and popped is the right word, about 10 minutes of labor and one good push and there she was. Six pounds, 4 oz and 17 ¾ inches long and a whole head of black hair. Little Ava’s big brother, Aidan, is just a little confused. After she was brought home from the hospital Jody and I left to go shopping and Aidan told his Mom that we had forgotten to take our baby with us……little problem with sharing Mom and Dad? Think he is all adjusted now and has learned to tolerate the competition. Katie and Brandon have a beautiful family. Next time though, we would prefer a summer delivery.
Too damn cold for us in Kenosha. We are in Southern California because we do not like the cold….it was minus 14 (wind chill) while we were there. Hated to leave the kids, but it sure was nice to get back to the mid 70’s in Coronado!

(2) My favorite author, W.E.B. Griffin (wrote: Honor Bound, Brotherhood of War, The Corps, Badge of Honor, Men at War, and Presidential Agent) was here in Coronado. First let me recommend, if you are going to read his books, start with “The Corps” series. Fiction, with a good plot and easy reading. I got to meet him, and he autographed his newest book (The Hunters) to both Jody and me. What a pleasant guy. As impressed as I was with him, his running buddy – who many of his characters are based on, left me in awe. A retired Special Forces soldier who has been everywhere and done everything. I spent about 15 minutes with Mr. Griffin and about 45 minutes with his friend. Sorry I didn’t get his name, but what an impressive individual. I did ask Mr. Griffin if he could write a little faster – I don’t like waiting between books!

(3) Camping at a military campground is something else! Met a retired 1ST Cavalry Cornel, the other day. Very nice guy, who had me in tears with the story of his military career. All of us may have done what we consider “our time in hell”, but this guy really did what an American Hero is all about. He had to cut his vacation short, because he had been notified by the Department of Defense that his presence in Washington D.C. was REQUIRED. Took a while to get the whole story out of him….In 1965 he was a helicopter pilot in Viet Nam, and to listen to him tell it, all he did was his “job”. Flying, repeatedly, under heavy hostile fire over a two day period, he and his crew rescued uncounted wounded Soldiers and flew them to safety. He did mention that he was wounded himself during the first flight – but kept returning to help his fellow Soldiers. I thought it was rather odd to learn that you only get one “Purple Heart” no matter how many times you are wounded over a two day period, since it all counts as one “hostile action”. After only forty years or so, we, as a Nation have finally come to recognize his contribution to our freedom, and he will be presented the Medal of Honor, by the President of the United States, later this month. If you want to find out more about him and his actions, rent the movie “We Were Soldiers” with Mel Gibson. He is the helicopter pilot, played by Greg Kinnear. My heart felt thanks and admiration is extended to Bruce Crandall, Col, USA, Retired. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas! That “Happy Holidays” is a bunch of crap. Think the folks in the stores are starting to cringe when I come in……I will gladly celebrate any and all religious holidays, regardless of faith, but I’ll be damned if I will let political correctness take away something we hold so dear and close.

Now that I have that out of the way –

Where do I start? Still the same old boring routine, as always. Get up, linger over a long morning coffee break, read the paper, look out the window across San Diego Bay and watch the sun rise, in all its grandeur and beauty. Guess some folks could say it’s just another sunrise…..boy are they missing something. It’s beautiful to see, and no two are alike. Have about a gazillion photo’s of just the sunrise, but they can’t do justice to Gods live performance. I think you should all retire, get an RV and join us – there’s plenty of room at Fiddlers Cove.

Had the pleasure of attending a performance of Lamb’s Theatre showing of “An American Christmas” at the Hotel Del Coronado. It’s as if you are joining a family for their Christmas celebration, 100 years ago. All the players are in period costumes and represent various family members. I should also mention that there is a superb five course dinner, including adult beverages of choice to toast in the holiday. This was the fourth year that we have attended – just gets better every time. On a sad note though, the actor that played the grandfather, who Jody got to dance with several years ago, passed away this past spring. The members of the cast honored his memory with a fantastic show. It is our intention, if we are in Coronado next year, to attend again. If any of you get the chance – don’t miss it. What a great way to celebrate Christmas.

The big plan is to spend Christmas eve with our friends, Mark, Jennifer and their three precious children. Going to eat, drink and be merry. As usual, Jody and I will do our best to influence and destroy the core values that Mark and Jennifer have instilled in their kids. They are our target audience, and we will be our normal selves….. Then we plan to ring in blessed event of Christmas day with a trip to the casino. We have determined that all “God Holidays” should be spent gambling. Cause, every time we pull the handle on the slot machine, we pray.

Time to end this, what ever it is and send our very best to each and every one of you – especially Kevin Cahill. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Time to update the BLOG………been much too busy doing our Southern California thing, you know, lying around staring at the Bay. It’s a job that you have to just pace yourself for, or you could burn out by noon.

Jody and the Del are doing great! Everyday she heads off to her castle. She considers the guests to be her friends and they are all staying there to visit with her. Can you imagine having a job that you love so much? She’s one happy camper. But, I’m not sure how much I like being the “house keeper”……I’m expected to cook and clean, and both those tasks have a tendency to interfere with my staring off into space and relaxing. Guess being lazy fits my nature and future plans quite well! How do I convince Jody?

Couldn’t get tickets to the play off game between the Padres and Cards, try as we might. We sat down at the Ferry Landing, across from PETCO Park and watched the fans. Not many smiles….guess they must not have liked the final score – Cards over the Padres. But, to me, watching everyone was more fun than going to the game – Jody, being a Cardinal fan, has a different opinion. Think she would have mugged someone for a ticket to the game. Glad, for the sake of all the fans, that there was plenty of police presence to protect the ticket holders from my lovely bride.

Today’s Jody’s day off….so we slept in. Didn’t get up until 5:00 am. But for those of you who think that is much too early, we have included a photo of the sun rise and sunset. The picture doesn’t do it’s beauty justice. Not sure which we like more, the sunrise or the sunset. They’re both beautiful and great to look at…..

Trying to think of all the fun things we have been doing. How can you make sitting in a lawn chair, with a pair of binoculars, watching the bay, sipping a beverage of choice, visiting with people walking by, sound exciting? Does it sound boring? Guess I could get bored with it…….think I will give it another year of so and see how it goes, then maybe find some one who has a position of leisure for an old retired CHIEF.

Of note: Friday, 06 October, Chief Petty Officer Laura Baker is having her retirement send off in Brunswick Maine. Want you all to know what a great CHIEF she is. I was fortunate to have been her “Mess Mate” and had the honor of serving with her. One hell of a CHIEF and our friend! Welcome aboard, Laura……the retired life is good!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sorry to all that it has taken so long to update the BLOG. Could give a million excuses.....lack of internet access and being lazy are the two biggest problems.

Getting to Aunt Bonnie's week-end place on the Colorado River was an exciting adventure to say the least. Lets start with the blow out. traveling about 70 MPH down I-40, with a semi passing us, the rear right tire blew to shreds. Scared the living what ever out of both of us - thought we had been shot or something. Of course it was only 35 miles to the nearest town........but there was a pull off only two miles down the road. After limping in there, crying and whinning, etc, we use our road side assistance - a first for everything. If you don't have road side assistance - GET IT! The tire chaning god was there within 30 minutes and we were on our way 20 minutes after that. Did attach a photo of the tire......scary stuff. Oh, by the way - we did have a good spare.
Did anyone know that there have been the rains of the century in New Mexico? You ever seen those signs that say "watch for flash flooding"? We are completely aware of both, now. Traveling westwardly down I-40, in a rain of biblical proportions we were standed between exits, with no-where to go. Fortunately, we were on a bit of a rise in the road, unfortunately the rise turned into an island. Being the stalwart brave Sailor that I am, and while Jody was bouncing off the overhead, I cut the engine, turned off the lights and took a 3 hour nap. Nothing else to do, but watch the water rise. At about 9:00 PM the state of New Mexico as able to send out a very large tractor to plow the ugly red mud from the roadway, opening just one lane and we were able to continue the journey. All the way to Gallup, where we grabbed the first RV park we found and tried to quit shaking and get some better quality sleep.
Well, we made it to Bonnie and Scotts week-end place on the Colorado River - thats on the California/Arizona line. It is the most perfect spot we have found. A garage big enough for all the toy's needed (Harley, ski-boat, two jet ski's, Jeep, golf cart) and still enough room for the motorhome. Can't even begin to tell you all how much fun we had! Got in some great visiting - catching up on family and friends, not to mention that we were treated like royalty. The Colorado River is clean, clear and very cool - but the cool can be a bit deceiving when the air temperature is over 110 degrees. And don't even give me that line about "dry heat". Hot is HOT! Can't wait to see Bonnie and Scott again. If we hit the LOTTO, we could be their next door neighbors.
Made it to Coronado California......sure did miss this place! Got to Fidlers Cove Marina and RV Camp at 4:00 PM on the Tuesday before Labor Day - and we were in the Chief's Cantina on North Island by 5:00 PM. Didn't even have to ask for a Miller Lite, Dannie the bartender, or as we prefer to think of her the "beer goddess" had 'em set up as soon as she saw us. Lots of hugs and laughs. Toby Kieth must have written "I love this bar" about F-Troop (CPO Cantina). Been here a week - been to the cantina about 5 place to see all our friends and shipmates.
Jody has already started back at the DEL. She still thinks it's her personal castle, and all the guests are her friends. Think she's having fun.
Will update the BLOG again.......soon????

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Welp - here we are.......where ever that may be. Hard to put it all on the BLOG.....just to much to do and not near enough time. The biggest problem was lack of internet access. Bear with me and I'll try to bring you up to date on our latest exploits, or at least as much as I can remember.

Lets see - since the Black Hills of South Dakota. Went back to Kenosha, Kate & Brandon's free campground (back yard). Ya suppose someone will complain about the homeless folks squating in the yard? Anyway, we stayed about a week and then we all headed up to Fort McCoy, in central Wisconsin. Smooth as can be.....they were full and had our reservations all screwed up. But since we are such nice folks, pleasant too, we all (Katie, Brandon, Aidan; Jodys brother Charlie, his wife Sue & our 2 nephews and niece, including 3 dogs) got to camp for the entire trip at NO COST! Cheap, something I can relate to. It was beautiful. Nice swimming lake, waterfalls and lots of bugle music - remember, we were on an Army base. Revelle goes about 0600, then chow call and a bunch of other noisy things in between wake up and Taps (2300). Sure was fun - very hot though!
Then we made a hall to Center City MN. Officer Candidate Cunz and his bride to be had the pleasure of putting up with us for a few days. It was great to see the little Sailor again. His wife to be, Bonnie, is beatiful, personable, outgoing, inteligent - just questionable taste in men. They are getting married 16 September - wish them the best of everything and hope they have a great life together.
Then ended up back at Katies again.....can't beat that free camping! Had to get all that insurance, registering the jeep and keeping some medical appointments. Now that we are old retiree's we had to sign up for TRICARE (medical) with Naval Hospital Great Lakes. It would take a couple pages to tell you all about getting a Wisconsin drivers license. An 8 hour adventure in futility - but I can tell you the police were called, and so was the fire department. No charges and I did get my license.
From there, we got in some more free camping at Kathy & Brads (Jody's sister) in Washington Illinois, near our hometown. They have a beautiful house sitting in the middle of 7 acres of timber. Great setting, with family - it can't be beat! Got to see all the family while we were there too.
Now, we are on the road again - heading towards Mojave Valley AZ. Stopping in to see Aunt Bonnie and Scott. Right now, I'm writing this from Amarillo TX......not sure how far we are from Mojave Valley, but I know we will get there eventually. The only thing for sure is we have reservations for 3 September at Fidlers Cove (Coronado, CA) and Jody is going back to work at the Hotel Dell the first week of September. Sure hope it pays enough so she can support me. Don't think I can adjust to employment, after all, I'm RETIRED!
More later.........

Friday, July 14, 2006

Hey - we almost forgot this one. We did manage to get in some sight seeing, between our stints of prospecting.

We are now sitting at a camp site in the Amana Colonies of Iowa. This campground holds about a zillion campers and is hosting a huge arts and crafts show this week-end. We were only going to spend the night, but after seeing some of the town and all the venders setting up, we decided to spend Saturday night too! This retirement stuff is really cool - plans are ment to change as we want.

Our grandson, Patrick, the poor thing has to be back in Pekin in time to go camping with his mother. We're dropping him off on Sunday, and they are leaving Thursday. Kid has it better than us old retirees. He has been a pleasure to have along and has been a great traveling companion for both of us. We will miss having him along with us.

Wish I could tell you about our next excurssion.......but we don't have it figured out yet. Spending a couple days visiting Jody's family in Pekin. Then onto Kate & Brandons in Kenosha. Planning a few days at Ft.Mcoy (SP) with Jody's brother and family and Kate/Brandon. Then it looks like we may head to Minneapolis for a few days. Getting this urge to head WEST........Jody wants to get back to the Del.

MOST IMPORTANT.......we have to trade in our Active Duty Military I.D's for retired cards. Haven't got around to that yet...just so much to do and only 24 hours in a day.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Looks like two very serious prospectors. Not much "color" to show for their hard work, but we sure did have a good time. Think Uncle Denny would have done much better with us staying in camp while he panned. Guess he is on his own now.

We're hitting the road today. About time to amble back to Illinois and get Patrick back to his mother in Pekin. He's been with us since the 1st week in June. Great traveler and adventurer. It's been great having him with us. He keeps the twinkle in our eyes and a smile on our faces.

Not sure where we're heading from there. May go back to my roots and hit my fathers home town of Gilman, Illinois. No family left there, but lots of memories. Guess we'll play it by ear. Seems that we have been doing everythin I want. Jody is going to be getting fed up with doing everything I want and start giving me some "direction" in the near future. You all know how quiet and shy she is...... hope she comes out of her shell soon.

We both recommend that you take the time and come to South Dakota. It rivals Maine for beautiful scenery, but exceeds it in parks and monuments. Mount Rushmore is more than we expected and impossible to put into words. Don't pass it up!