February, 2012

...now browsing by month


Wednesday Feb 29. I’m confused

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Why do they call it leap year? Leaping to me is the equivalent of skipping over. The more appropriate name is bissextile, but that could cause even more confusion.

I had a wonderful 75th birthday yesterday. The McDonnells took me out to the New Kent Winery, east of Richmond. It was sunny and quite comfortable to have our picnic lunch, with their excellent wines, on the porch. We took a tour of the wine making process. The buildings have been constructed, for the most part, from recycled timbers, brick and stones. A busman’s holiday for me to marvel at the craftsmanship in using large 100 plus year old Long Leaf Yellow (Pitch) Pine beams. Siding and wainscoting made from huge resawn Cypress sinker logs.  The winery is set in Pine forested rolling hills at the headwaters of the York River. Here and there the Sweet Gum trees are just starting to show their purple blooms amongst the otherwise still bare deciduous trees .

These first signs of Spring have aroused a wish to try and do a short road trip through the Carolinas to Florida to visit a number of friends. I still have some shopping to do for things that I need to bring along for the boat before I leave March 13 and a bunch of loose ends to deal with on the “book” project. Stay tuned.


Ash Wednesday Feb 22nd. North West Passage??? Maybe….

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

I wonder how many of you have heard about this incredible voyage of Matt Rutherford.  A friend sent me a recent  Washington Post article about it.  That is the first I ever saw of it.  Non stop, 10 months, solo around the entire American continent on a 27 foot tupper ware Albin Vega;  through the N.W. Passage and around the Horn…..  To me this out does any circumnavigation done by anyone, ever,  till now.  He is due into Annapolis in April, with a little luck looks to me it will be March from his current position off the Brazilian coast. You must read his blog. He has a wonderful sense of humor and ingenuity and skill in facing his many challenges.


It is exactly seven years ago that I left Gig Harbor. It was the Thursday after Ash Wednesday, on February 11, 2005. If I ever wish to claim having finished my circumnavigation I need to cross my track somewhere in the Northern Pacific. I have no great desire to pass through the Panama Canal and beat my way up North against the wind and current. But if I wait long enough, I have said jokingly, the global warming will make it possible to go through the N.W. passage. I have another 5 years to do this “around the world before eighty years”. And now this guy has done it…. Maybe? 

It has warmed up into the low seventies here. I rode the bike to my optometrist appointment, against a stiff breeze and later to Ash Wednesday services in Portsmouth.

My two great granddaughters were visiting here yesterday. They are precious. Madison will be three in March and Lily is 15 months. I inherited my looks from my great grand children….





Sunday, Feb 19. Mass in the Morning. State Prison in the afternoon.

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

On my last December 11th post I showed a picture of 11 new candidates for membership into the church in my parish in Gig Harbor. Today four candidates were presented to the St.Therese de Lisieux parish here in Portsmouth, Va. It warms my heart. I made that step myself in 1958. The Church is well and alive in this country. But fast forward to the afternoon when I went to visit my grandson, David, in the Saint Bride state prison. Nothing saintly about this institution and crime and the prison system is a national disgrace. David did something very dumb and is serving a three year sentence. I love him very much. Last year when I visited him we were separated with a glass window and we talked to each other on a telephone in the municipal correction center. I got to hug him today. We were in a large room where the inmates can receive family and friends once a week. It all looked innocent and secure to me. I was with his mother (my daughter), Jeannine, son in law Sean and granddaughter  Gabrielle. We could only take an I.D. card and quarters for the vending machines into the prison. Watch, wallet. etc., had to be left in the car. We were thoroughly searched.  But then I heard the story from David how a hit of  heroin on the street migth sell for $ 10 but can be sold in the prison for $ 100. It is passed in this room from visitor to inmate from body cavities via their mouth into the  stomach or intestines, undetected in their searches out of the visiting room then gagged or defecated. Gangs, rape, fights are a common occurrence. 

My plans: I have booked my flight to Amsterdam. I fly out of Boston on March 13 and arrive, via Heathrow, at Schiphol at 14.00 h on March 14th. I will be staying with my cousin and niece in Heemstede and fly to Athens on April 11.

Ik hou me aanbevolen voor logeer invitaties in die periode om de pret wat te verspreiden. Ik heb voor de eerste week een autootje gehuurd.

I am focussing on having my “De Mastmakers Dochters” and “The Mastmakers Daughters” in a format for publication before April 11th.  The proofing copies are in a few hands in the U.S.A. and Holland. I could use additional assistance, particularly for the English version. I need help from friends, or someone you could recommend, who have experience in editing for style, grammar and structure. My strength is in reporting but not in style and grammar. It is an incredible story.

Tuesday February 14. Virginia. Sheila celebrates Valentine’s Day with the Angels

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Since I arrived here in 2007 from my (near) circumnavigation I have welcomed the first three of  Jeannine’s newborn grandchildren in her home. Last night I said farewell to Sheila, Jeannine’s mother in law. She was given the annointment of the sick by father Kevin just hours prior to her death. The cycle of Life. Sheila died of lung cancer. My daughter and son in law decided to bring Sheila from California to their home in Virginia for her last days and I am very proud of the way they handled this and also for the private hospice care back up that was available to them.  


Sunday Feb 12. Back with the Virginians

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

They let me keep my pants on and even my belt, going through security at LAX, unlike the experience last Tuesday at SeaTac.  Virginia had their first snow yesterday and it is still below zero centigrade. Quite a change from the last three days with Brenda in Southern California. I went to mass here at St.Thérèse de Lisieux and met again a number of the people I have got to know since I started  visiting here in 2007.

As I mentioned in the previous post, we walked to Bob’s Big Boy Drive in on Riverside Drive, a landmark since 1949. We wandered through the collection of the cars from the fifties that gather here every Friday evening.


Friday February 10th. Southern California

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Yesterday it got up into the eighties (30 C) today it was another glorious clear day in the high seventies. Brenda took me out to the Santa Monica Pier and Muscle Beach, yesterday. Today we drove through Hollywood and went up to the observatory in Griffith Park and then over to Forest Lawn in Glendale. I had never been up to see the panoramic paintings of the Crucifixion and Resurrection in one of the many chapels on Forest Lawn. This was very impressive.

Brenda grew up in Glendale district and I lived in the Echo Park district, in the late fifties, it all lay spread out below us from high up on the observatory. It brought back many great memories. Later this evening we will walk over from her home to Bob’s Drive In, a landmark since the fifties. On Friday evening this is where the owners of oldie cars gather through the drive in.


Wednesday evening February 8. Universal Studios.

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

For al the years that I have lived in Southern California I had never been to the Universal Studios. Brenda lives within two miles from the studios in the Toluca Lake district.  I had no idea that one can spend a couple days in there to see all the entertainment and rides. I had a grand time. It was a beautiful sunny clear day in the seventies.

With Brenda at Universal Studios, Burbank and Verdugo Hills in background



Wednesday Feb 8. In California

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Said my goodbyes in the Northwest and flew to Burbank yesterday. I am visiting with Brenda my long time friend. Saturday I fly to Virgina to visit a month with daughter #3 and family. I had a wonderful three month on the West Coast, with family and regular friends, making new friends and accidentally rediscovering earlier friendships.

Going through security at SeaTac was a new experience. I have never had to remove kleenex from my coat pockets. The next time they will probably have you deposit everything you wear on the scanning line and hand you a dressing gown and a bar of soap.

I have put Proofing Copies of the “The Mastmakers Daughters” and “De Mastmakers Dochters” in the index at item 97). It is pass word protected and I have a few writer friends going over it. I can use all the help I can get, in case any one else has experience in writing and publishing. It is a 185 page word format story about our mother’s life. She wrote her memoires from early childhood till marriage. Her father was the 4th generation of a 200 year family mastmakers tradition. Growing up above the mastmaker shop in de Lemmer a small seaport on the (then) Zuiderzee, before running water, electricity, women’s suffrage. And a contrasting story of the other Mastmakers Daughter, her cousin by the identical name, growing up in the mastmaker’s family of my mother’s uncle in Holtenau Germany.  Mother ends up in the resistance during the Second World  War and is liberated at the war’s end by the Americans in Dachau and her cousin joined the NAZI party. It is a historical document through all the details I discovered around mother’s resistance activities, that she herself has most likely never known. I wrote it for myself and children but also to fulfill a wish she had to share with a larger audience her gratitude for the strength she received from her Faith all through her life and in particular in her imprisonment.