Thanksgiving Snub for the Kitty Hawk

Japan 196My son CJ had been looking forward to visiting Hong Kong over Thanksgiving, as the Kitty Hawk was scheduled to port there.  Unfortunately the Chinese government had other ideas and turned away the carrier group.  Nearly 300 families had flown over to Hong Kong to spend the holiday with their loved ones in the carrier group and were disappointed.  Here’s the link to the story on CNN:

U.S. commander ‘perplexed’ by China’s refusal of warship visit


Japan, Part 1: Planes, trains and hotel rooms

We took the 14-hour plane ride (non-stop) from D/FW to Narita.  On the plane we met another set of parents heading to Yokosuka – they were from central Louisiana and we ran into them several times during the trip.  Unfortunately my son was not as easy to find.  His ship pulled into port the same day we arrived and he did not have a working cell phone.  On arrival we hoped to meet him at the airport but could not find him so we decided to take the train.  Narita Airport is several miles east of Tokyo and our destination (Yokosuka) is a ways south of Tokyo, so we had a long train ride in store.  We chose the slower local train rather than the Narita Express since it was cheaper and did not require a change of trains at Yokohama, which we were scared to death of at that point.  Most signs in Japan are in both English and Japanese, but the train maps are an exception.  The train was not too crowded since we got on before rush hour and this train went more around Tokyo than through it. Continue reading “Japan, Part 1: Planes, trains and hotel rooms”

A week in Japan

We are sleeping off our jet lag and organizing all the photos and video we got in Japan.  What a fantastic trip!  Click on the photos below to view the slideshows.  Once the slideshow starts, click the “i” in the middle of the screen for full captions.  We are still working on the full blog entries; check back soon!

Fire hydrant cover 2  Japan 418 Japan 211 Japan 326 Narita Express

RIP Smokie, 1985?-2007


Until yesterday we had 4 cats.  We didn’t ask for any of them – all are adoptions from family and friends.  Smokie was already old when we got her from my grandmother who was unable to care for her in the retirement home, and she made it to the ripe age of 22.  She had a quirky personality and some unique skills, and she didn’t take crap from anyone – humans, giant dogs, giant cats, not nobody.

Continue reading “RIP Smokie, 1985?-2007”

Oh Wait… I Have A Quarter!


Torture a teen today!  More and more kids working in shops and fast food places simply can’t make change without mechanical help.  Poor dears.  I’m doing my little bit to help; won’t you?  When I’m at the counter paying cash I like to hand over my bill, pause just long enough for the cashier to punch it into the register, then say, “Oh wait… I have a quarter!”  Then the fun begins.

Continue reading “Oh Wait… I Have A Quarter!”

Empty Nester

So my daughter is finally out on her own and we’re empty nesters.  And with that comes the urge to remodel of course, so we’re painting and redecorating all over… well, at least her old bedroom and the dining room, since we gave her our table and chairs.  Painting the dining room was an adventure since it took a 15-foot ladder to reach the top of the walls, but I managed OK.

The end of an era

MC Birthday Wreath-Laying Ceremony

Grace’s father, Harold Niemeyer, passed away last week.  He had been ill for a very long time, and as a stroke victim he was in many ways trapped in his body for the past 10 years.  Still he enjoyed life the best he could and I was glad to have gotten a chance to know him over the past couple of years.

The funeral service was very touching, and we had an Air Force honor guard at the gravesite.  Only afterward did I learn that bugler that played “Taps” was using an electronic device in the bell of the instrument to make the sound.  I had no idea these existed and it was very realistic – totally had me fooled.  Check out for more info about these things.