January, 2012

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Monday January 30. A good weekend.

Monday, January 30th, 2012

I finished the translation, from Dutch into English, of “The Mastmakers Daughters”.  It took a lot more hours than I had expected. With the illustrations I am now at 185 (word processing) pages.  In the next ten days or so, after cutting and polishing I should be ready to present it for editing and critique to a few friends, who have greater writing skills, for improvements. 

In my previous blog I wrote about the surprise re-discovery, in church, of friends from the mid seventies. Peggy and Dennis had me over for dinner and invited Pierre and Hélène  as well. And I got to meet three of their children who were babies the last time I saw them. We had a lot to catch up on.

Yesterday I went to say good bye to my friends in Gig Harbor and attended mass at St. Nicholas. I visited my Dutch American friends Albert and Johanna and then got together with a bunch of my old sailing friends at Terry and Janet’s home for dinner and a slide showing of the Danube trip.  


January 23rd. Monday first day of the Lunar Calendar and an unusual encounter at mass

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Chúc mừng năm mới!

Kung Hei Fat Choy


The Year of the Dragon

Happy Lunar New Year to all my Asian friends

I have great pictures of Tet, Vietnamese Lunar New Year, celebration 2010 at: https://cometosea.us/albums/albums/LunarNewYearVietnam2010.pdf

 Sunday January 22nd:

I walked up to the “St. Therese de Lisieux” for 8.30 mass. The roads are bare now but there is still lots of snow on the sidewalks and lawns. Broken off branches everywhere. Wonderful sermon about Jonah at Nineveh. A rapture avoided.

I have made friends in the least expected places or under the strangest circumstances. I just have to tell you how I reconnected in this church this morning with good friends from the late seventies that I had become separated from through too much work and a marriage that was not always compatible with my then friends. A handsome tall man came in and sat next to me and was greeted by someone behind him with: “Bon Giorno”. You know me, I had to show off my “poche parole italiano”. After mass we talked some more. He made a comment about my voice, which happens when a church is not full and I am the one eyed king in the land of the blind and then he told me about his cousin Luigi Roni, who sings bass in the Scala, Met, etc., with names like Margaret Price, Placido Domingo and Pavaroti. He is particularly known for his role in Don Carlos. Guiseppi (or Joe) Roni’s family, like Luigi, are all from Lucca. Next I talked with the couple that sat behind Joe, Peggi and Dennis. When I was on my way out the door Joe and I talked once more and he brought up the last name of Peggi and Dennis and then I realized that I had been talking to old friends. So I had to head back once more. So we are going to get together and surprise his brother and sister in law at the same time, with whom I also was friends in that same period.

The moral of this story is: Go to church! you might make new and resurrect old friends….. 



Friday January 20. Digging out from a snow storm

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

The electric power went off at around 10 a.m. Thursday.  Freezing rain put a 1/4″ of ice over the snow fall and on the trees, which caused branches and trees to break and take power lines down with them. Even though Rose Marie and Donovan have gas heating the thermostat and fans don’t work without electricity. And we had no firewood for the fireplace. I soon ran out of battery power for my work on the book on the lap top. I could have tried to find a warm coffee shop with power but the roads were treacherous with the ice rain. My two grand kids found homes among their many friends that had power. Rose Marie had her work cancelled at the Aquarium, so we had time to talk about many things with candle light and blankets wrapped around our feet. This turned out to be a real blessing for bonding with my daughter.

I had to turn my rental car in today. Rose Marie followed me out and then I rode in with her from near the SeaTac airport to her work at the Seattle Aquarium. On January 15 one of the sea otters delivered a pup. A fairly rare event in captivity. The lights went back on while we were leaving the house this morning. Donovan was supposed to fly in yesterday from Salt Lake but his flights were cancelled and he is now to arrive on Saturday morning. Lisa was in Pittsburgh and is supposed to fly in tonight but I am not holding my breath on that one. This is one of the biggest winter storms I have ever seen in the North West.




Wednesday January 18. A record snow fall

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

The drive down to Portland was uneventful, the roads were snow free. It started snowing late Monday afternoon in Portland. I had a very nice visit with George and Marsha who have an association with and interest in the history of the “Groote Beer” www.cometosea.us/albums/GrooteBeer.htm The G.B. was donated back in 1958 to the St. Elizabeth church in Portland. My new friends live right behind the church. Their neighbor, Gail, who had her 93rd yesterday, sailed on the G.B. in that period. All three are members of the church.

I stayed with my youngest son, Seth, in Portland and got a scenic tour, following George on a short cut, on a snow covered road snaking through the surrounding hills. Tuesday morning the snow had turned to rain. I had a very nice stay with my Dutch American friend Evert and his wife Judy in Eugene. On the way back to Tacoma I ran into a mess on I-5, I had not expected. It started snowing, on this stretch, this morning and stopped in the early afternoon and by then it had dropped over 20 inches, 50 cms, near Olympia. The problem started just south of Chehalis and the worst was between Centralia and Olympia. It took me 3 1/2 hours from Vancouver, Wn. to get to Rose Marie in Federal Way; normally that takes less than 2 hours. The snow was melting but the roads had not been plowed and it was a giant wash board. The suspension took a heck of a beating. Glad it was a rental car and not mine…  

On my previous blog I posted a link to a story about the consequences we may be seduced into through untested rhetoric about the intentions of Iran. This is a powder keg that could be lit by a provocation like the U.S. orchestrated with the Golf of Tonkin Incident, Nazi Germany did with the Reichstag Fire,  Operation Ajax, 1953 in Iran a false-flag attack carried out by the CIA and the British MI6. Please, read it carefully and act if you agree. I have communicated this to my elected representatives.



Sunday January 15. A dump of snow.

Monday, January 16th, 2012

I am back in Federal Way with Rose Marie and Donovan. It started snowing seriously at 4 a.m. and dumped about 8 inches. I did not think I’d be able to get out of Bellingham. But then it turned out that a mile away there was very little snow. It is supposed to snow again in the next 3 days but I plan to drive to Portland and Eugene, the snow might spoil the plans but it is worth a try.

You know that it snowed seriously because I have no church pictures to show you.

taken this morning from Sid's office


Saturday Morning Post. Jan 14

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

It started snowing last night on my way back from a visit with my friends Jan and Dewey who live on lake Whatcom. This might spoil my plans to get to Eugene and Portland, within the 2 weeks car rental period. It is raining hard now and that should take the snow away but another cold front is expected tomorrow.

I did not sleep well. Late in the evening my right shoulder started suddenly acting up. It feels like my arm is pulled out of its socket. This morning I found IBUProfen in Sid’s cabinets and that seems to help. But I had a heck of a time steering with both hands so that hopefully will clear up. My old body does not like the cold any longer.

I had a delightful evening with my friends, they live on the end of the road at the end of the lake, like being hundreds miles a way from civilization yet a short drive into Bellingham. I just fed the cats and stoked up a good fire in the wood stove and it feels like my fingers are loosening up for the last English pages of “The Mastmakers Daughters”. 


Wednesday Jan 11. Visiting friends in Vancouver B.C.

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

I had Sashimi lunch in Port Moody with Bonnie a dear friend since 1986. Then off to Vancouver near Granville Island to see Phil and Leilani who I had met exactly two years ago on a a three day tour of the Mekong Delta. We had a lot to talk about. They are world travellers, sailors and skiers. Great friends. Vancouver remains one of the most attractive cities to visit on my list. We stood on the rooftop of Phil and Lei’s condo at 6th and Cambie watching the setting sun reflecting in the windows of the high rises across English Bay and spilling over the snow capped Lions. You have to believe my thoughts, the camera battery was empty.  

Today it’s back to the “The Mastmakers Daughters” translation and then I make one more day visit, tomorrow, to Vancouver to see more old friends.

I had hoped to get a good moon set picture because I have a superb unobstructed view to the West from here across the San Juan Islands but unlike sailing in more southern latitudes the cloud cover is a spoiler here. I love the summers in the N.W. but I am afraid that the 7 years sailing under clearer skies and in warmer temperatures have spoiled me for ever.



Sunday morning January 8. At mass on the reservation

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

A part of it felt like I was again somewhere on a foreign shore. The lector at Saint Joachim church gave a short introduction in the Lummi language. The priest was father Nguyen Khanh and his accent recalled going to the English language mass at Our Lady of Saigon cathedral. Instead of ringing a bell at the consecration one of the Lummi women beat a traditional drum skin. Today is the feast of the Epiphany, the Three Kings.

I will spending the day on Tuesday and Thursday in Vancouver, visiting friends. The two cats are slowly warming up to me. I plan to head back to Tacoma on Sunday morning and take off for Portland and Eugene Monday the 16th and return the rental car on the 20th to SeaTac.

Father Khanh at St. Joachim

January 7th. Saturday Evening Post from Bellingham

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

I am listening to one of my favorite radio programs, Prairie Home Companion, on NPR (National Public Radio). The host Garrison Keillor, I call him the Irreverent Reverend. This was a good show.

Rose Marie dropped me yesterday at 5.30 a.m., on her way to work, at Starbucks in Des Moines. Dick Lyons came to pick me up an hour later. He lives nearby. This was our first meeting. It will not be our last. We had a lot to talk about. Dick was asked by his pastor father Williams of the St.Elisabeth of Hungary parish in Portland, Oregon, back in 1958, to come up with a plan for the “Groote Beer” which had been donated by Bob Johnson to the church. Most of you will know that I am the self proclaimed historian on this well known botter yacht. See www.cometosea.us/albums/GrooteBeer.htm  Dick and his wife Betty took me to the car rental place, nearby. At lunch time I met my long time friend Ken House in Mt. Vernon. Ken has built one of the NAJA’s, like “Fleetwood” and we have done a lot of sail boat races together in the eighties and nineties.

I took the scenic route from Mt. Vernon along the shore line where I used to sail and through the town of Edison where “Fleetwood” was built in the winter of 1979-1980, on Chuckanut Drive. I am house and cat sitting here at my friends home right on the beach, looking west to the San Juans and Vancouver Island. I plan to go to 8.30 mass on the Lummi Reservation here tomorrow.

I was rummaging through the drawers in Sid’s office  looking for, I already forgot what, something and I discovered his tape measure stash. Now I know where they all ended up over the fourty years that I have known Sid.  His famous last words: “I’ll give it right back” 

It is so still here. I’m hearing an owl calling.


New Year’s Eve 2011

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Wishing every one a Happy, Blessed, Healthy, Rewarding New Year.

I’m looking forward to it with great excitement. Continuing the exploration of the Mediterranean.

But there are some storm clouds gathering over the horizon. Last November, Jan, a friend at the Schinkel Yacht Club in Amsterdam pointed out a possible replay of history. “La Belle Époque” which preceded World War I and replayed in Berlin prior to World War II is making a similar comeback in Berlin. Berlin is right now again where it is happening in Europe, a mecca for the stars in entertainment, architecture, literature, etc. An audience and clientele with means and a good feeling of superiority over their European neighbors. I am in no way wanting to imply with this that this would forebode a third world war by the Germans. But I think that it could be a trend of a shift in values, in carelesness that can be exploited by the wrong drummers.

AMERICAN  POLICY ON IRAN: A good friend just forwarded to me the below link that you must read and decide for your self what your responsibilities are: http://www.truth-out.org/urging-obama-stop-rush-iran-war/1325349237