Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pardon the dust!

Sorry the blog looks like crap right now - I'm trying my damnedest (that must be correct, the red zigzag didn't appear!) to add share buttons and no matter what I try, they're not showing up.  I removed all customizations from the blog and everything - hence the generic look right now.

Checking the box on the blogger template didn't work and neither has adding in the html code from the addthis website.  I have an email in to them right now.  I even got suggestions from a nice lady on Twitter! (hi, @xxdinlo88!)

I know this shouldn't be this difficult, but if anyone has any other suggestions, feel free to throw them this way!

Ugh!  Even my signature is gone!

Z is for Babe Didriksen Zaharias

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Babe Didriksen Zaharias
( 1911 - 1956 )

Babe Didriksen was a fantastic all-around athlete.  She claims to have played everything - except dolls. 

The post would be a mile long if I listed all the tournaments and such that she won! 

Her life revolved around athletics.  She excelled in every sport she tried. Basketball, track, golf, baseball, tennis, swimming, diving, boxing, volleyball, handball, bowling, billiards, skating and cycling. 

In 1932, she qualified for five Olympic events in Los Angeles, however, women were only allowed to compete in three. She won the first women's Olympic javelin and set a world record in winning the first Olympic 80-meter hurdles. In the high jump, she tied the world record at 5-foot-5.

In 1949, she helped to found the Ladies Professional Golf Association.

The Associated Press voted her the Greatest Female Athlete of the first half of the 20th century.

She passed away in 1956 from cancer in her lymph nodes. 


Z - Zzzzzzzz sleeping on a ship

My Theme / Timeline

They caught me on the #azchat on Twitter when they asked how many people were using "Zzzz" for their last post!  Guilty on one count!

So let me grab this pic from the X post again.....

On the Lincoln, I was in female supply (duh!) berthing.  My head was at the very most forward spot possible and we were right at the waterline.  So in a situation like this below.....I could go to sleep hearing the waves against the hull.   I slept SO GOOOOOD!

You may think this is funny....but it's exactly what a berthing area looks like.  It has for many, many moons. You'd have up to 6 people in one small area trying to get ready at any time of the day or night.  When a certain rack came open, I jumped at the chance to get one, even if it were on the bottom.  Middles were prime real estate because they were the easiest to get in and out of and easiest to find stuff in.  The rack I wanted was in the corner, but since it was at the front of the ship, the wall followed the curve of the hull and gave the 3 of us tons of room. 

This is the inside of your rack.  We also got a stand up locker that usually just got stuffed with stuff we seldom needed.  And most ships have a seabag locker where you can store the rest of your stuff.

I always made sure to have my alarm clock set 2 minutes before reveille.  Imagine waking up to THIS  !!!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Malala Yousafzai

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Malala Yousafzai
( 1997 - )

Ms. Yousafzai is a Pakistani girl who was shot in the head at close range by the Taliban for being too outspoken about education for women.  Since her recovery, she has become a spokesman for education, human rights and women's rights.  In 2014, she won a Nobel Peace Prize.

It amazes me how incredible this young girl is. Knowing that she has such a drive to improve children's lives all over and the fact that she is only 2 months older than my own daughter. makes me in awe of her even more.  I can see her doing even more good in the future.

Y - Y did I join the Navy?

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I covered my journey back to civilian-hood in the "P" post, so why did I choose to join the Navy?

I grew up in a small town in SE Michigan.  We had 2 elementary schools, a middle school and a high school.  I graduated with most of the people I went to kindergarten with.  It was very clique-y.  Once we hit middle school / 6th grade - everyone was in their little groups and no one else was allowed in.  I never seemed to fit in anywhere.  I had a very small handful of friends (quality over quantity - I'm still in contact with them today!) but I spent a lot of time alone.  We spent most weekends and summers up north so I was never home anyway. I also got my share of bullying, which did not endear anyone to me at all.

I don't know when I decided I needed to get out of Clawson, but I knew I had to.  I loved being around horses, so I looked for and found a college in Ohio that offered Equestrian Studies.  I applied and was accepted!  Life was good!  I was going to buy a horse and take him to school with me and I was going to start my own training stable.

Then one day at school, I walked past the counselor's office and a Navy recruiter stepped out.  I locked eyes with him and my steps got slower and slower as I stared.  I wish I remembered what I said to him, but it had to have been the easiest sell in recruiting history!

I went home that night and told my parents my new decision.  They were surprised, but very supportive.  I already had one brother in the Army and another in the Air Force.  I went to the recruiting station and signed up into Delayed Entry.  I was supposed to leave for boot camp exactly 1 month after graduation!  But something happened and my ship date got delayed.  To October, then onto the following March.

I finally left for Orlando on March 17, 1992 - not long after Desert Storm started.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Lou Xiaoying

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Lou Xiaoying
(1924 - ?? )

Lou (when the article was written in 2012 - I wasn't able to find any recent info about her so I believe she succumbed to the kidney failure they mentioned) was 88 years old and had rescued over 30 babies from the trash!  She found the first in 1972 and raised her as her own.  Others she gave to friends or family to raise.

Someone who had little herself, by way of money or influence, has made a HUGE impact on at least 30 people - the infants she saved from certain death.

I love the photo above, because she looks like the loving, caring person she obviously was.  That's beautiful in my opinion!


X is for Xtra Cool Stuff

I didn't have a specific post to add this pics to, and they're too neat to skip so here's a special post for them! Some photos are clearly from a book - they're from the cruise book.  The others are mine. 
Love a carrier going full speed! 
We had a rodeo club, too.  The ALRC.  I was the secretary for a while.  Before the wonders of the Interwebz, I had to call places to get the guys entered in rodeos. 
Breaking the sound barrier. 
A lot of postage collectors would send in things to get cancelled on certain days.
I made this one for myself for the change of homeport. 
 The tugs pushing us into the pier in Pearl Harbor, by the Arizona Memorial. 
 An F-14 ready to launch. 
 My "GQ" look - except this is for General Quarters. 
This is one of my favorite pictures! 
The Canopus in Norfolk.


Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Cathay Williams

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Cathay Williams
(1844 - 1892)

Enlisting as William Cathay, she was the first African American woman to enlist in the Army.  The source seems slightly confusing, saying she was examined by a Army surgeon in order to enlist and also hospitalized at least five times, but no one knew she was female.  Doesn't say much for the medical staff back then!

wiki page

W - What?? A wife??

My Theme / Timeline

This really could have turned out badly for me.  But thankfully, guardian angels were looking after me or something!

I had a habit of breaking rules and going places alone while in Bahrain.  We were supposed to travel in at least pairs but the 2 people I had originally left to do stuff with that day were WAY too cozy and I felt like a 3rd wheel.  So I ditched them and did whatever that day.  Later that evening I took a cab to what was the Bahraini idea of a karaoke bar that we'd gone to several other times.

Nothing was going on there, so I hopped a cab back to the hotel barracks.  The cab driver wanted me to sit in front with him.  I thought it was odd and felt slightly uncomfortable, but I did. He kept trying to hold my hand and commenting about how strong I was.  Um yeah - I haul 100 lb bags of mail around so it happens!

We stopped at a light and he turned and grabbed both my hands and looking into my eyes, declared he desired me to be one of his wives!

Picture a deer - in - headlights look from me!

I shook my head and said NO, I really can't.  I need to get back to my ship and go home to America!  At the next possible minute, I jumped out of the cab and took off as fast as possible.  Didn't pay the fare or anything!

That could have been so bad.    

I found out from a nice gentleman (see post "M") that a fenced compound near the hotel belonged to a rich sheikh or someone like that.  There were 4 identical houses in this compound - one for each wife.  He was not allowed to show favoritism and had to spend equal time with each woman.  So these ladies lacked nothing and were treated well, but that lifestyle is not for me.



Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught

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Brigadier General Wilma Vaught
(1930 - )

Brig.Gen. Vaught (a fellow Michigander) is the first female to reach the rank of Brigadier General in her field in the US Air Force.   She served in the Air Force from 1957 until retiring in 1985.  Following an illustrious career, Brig Gen Vaught was the leader for the Women in Military Service to American (WIMSA, which I'm a part of) and pushed to have a memorial built at Arlington National Cemetery so the contributions of women in all services don't go unnoticed.

In 2000, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame and in 2010, inducted into the Army Women's Foundation Hall of Fame.

wiki page

V - Very Funny (or not)

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WestPac '95 was a very eventful cruise, wrought with plane crashes and the like.  One day, while in the Persian Gulf, we were doing a routine underway replenishment (UNREP) with our oiler, the USS Sacramento AOE1.  (also known as the Scrapmetal!)

This is one time I wish I'd been on the flight deck with the rest of the postal peeps, but I was working the window that day.  We were getting ready to open for business when an alarm started sounding.  All alarms are tested before getting underway, so you sort of get conditioned to hearing the 3 alarms; general, chemical and collision, all together in a pattern.  So hearing the collision alarm going off made the few of us in the PO pause and look at each other in confusion.   Then a huge jostle happened that almost knocked us over!  Each area has a TV showing the flight deck.  We saw a quick glimpse of chaos on the plat before it shut off.

The Sacramento had lost it's steering and went off course - crashing into the side of the Lincoln!  Minimal damage was done to us - the catwalks along the edge of the flightdeck were crushed, a couple planes had tail damage, but nothing horrible.  
 The Sac, on the other hand, sustained a LOT !  These pictures are from the cruise book.  This area of the Sac is the bridge wing - the lookout areas and such next to the bridge where the ship is steered from. The oil booms were also damaged.  I heard a very high-up officer had been standing out there, observing the UNREP and barely got out of the way!

So the running joke became "The shortest route across the Gulf is thru Sacramento!"


Friday, April 24, 2015

U - Underway

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Yay!  Much later than usual, but at least it's posted on the correct day!

You can't have a bunch of sea stories without talking about getting underway!

On the Canopus, I worked in deck department.  We were in charge of making the ship look pretty - chipping & painting.  We also did sea & anchor detail.  In this old photo (grabbed from the AS34 FB page), these people are all working sea & anchor on the foc'sle.  This is where I was (and I also painted this area many a time).

The Canopus had 2 anchors on the bow (front) and one aft (in back).  While in port, those huge chains were attached to buoys in the bay.  Shorter chains were attached to a padeye on deck and held the anchors in place.  To prepare for ships' movement, those chains had to be shifted.  A shackle attached to a another padeye was clipped onto the long chain to hold it in place while one of the links was taken apart and reattached to the anchor chain.  Thus the anchors were usable.  The chain looped around giant windlasses and went down the keyhole shaped opening into the chainlocker below decks.  Then the fun part happened!  2 brave souls stood near each shackle with a sledgehammer.  When the word was given - they would use those sledgehammers on the shackles and pop them open.  The long lengths of chain would make an enormous racket as they slid out of the bullnoses and into the water. The ship was free, a whistle would blow and an announcement made of "Underway, shift colors"  Meaning the flag at the rear of the ship was brought down and another raised on a more prominent area on a mast.  A different process happened in back at the pier, but since I never worked back there I never saw it.

I got to break the shackle once!  The light colored part of the foc'sle was silver paint and I'd stood out there at the ready, the hot Georgia sun getting me from above and reflecting off that damn silver paint, for a good hour while we slowly made our way up the river to Kings Bay.  When the moment of truth came along and one of the tough guys thought he was going to take the sledgehammer from me!  I don't think so buddy!  So bets started being placed if I, a little 19 year old girl, could break the shackle with one blow!  Pride and bragging rights were on the line!  So I swung that sledgehammer with all my might and knocked the hell out of that shackle!  It would have been more impressive had we been leaving port, but I was happy with the less spectacular incoming sea & anchor.

Coming back into port was a lot more work.  Those chains lying on the bottom of the bay had to come back up onto the foc'sle.  Ropes with small buoys were attached to the end so it could be found again. Heavier ropes were attached and wound around the windlasses to pull those chains up.  Once they were in place, the shackle would be attached to the anchor again, a link broken and reattached to the muddy, barnacly chain.

Underway was a lot different between the 2 ships.  The Canopus, being smaller, was tossed around on the waves a lot more than the Lincoln was.  One incident comes to mind involving a door and my face!  I'd been out on deck painting and was sent to get more paint.  My friend Laura, that I've mentioned in several other posts, worked in the paint locker. As I waited for her to stir a 5 gallon bucket of haze gray for me, I sat on the bottom of the door to chat.  The ship hit a wave and rolled enough to make the (loose) handle like the one seen below, swing down and hit me!  I had been wearing my glasses and as I picked them up off the deck, I wiped what I thought were pain-tears from my eyes.  Then I noticed it was blood!  Anyone who has had the smallest cut in their eye-area knows that you bleed like a stuck pig.  I just stood there and stared as Laura freaked, then she grabbed me and drug me thru the ship to medical.  I didn't know where I was bleeding from, so I honestly thought my eyeball was hanging out of my head!  I ran bent over with my hands cupped over my eye, but blood still dripped off my elbows along the way.  As we flew thru the door into medical, the corpsmen reacted quickly, one of them yelling "Eye Injury!!" and put me over an eyewash station.  Once they got the story from Laura what had happened, they had me lie down until the bleeding stopped enough for them to see if I needed stitches or not.  Luckily, I didn't.  I got to spend some time with the nice corpsmen, since I went into a mild shock and was just shaking.   Laura got yelled at for leaving the paint locker unattended and I got yelled at for not bringing the paint back out before going to medical!

Closed & locked quick-acting watertight door.  The handle should be tight!

The Lincoln was much less eventful.  I worked in the post office by then and didn't have anything to do with sea & anchor detail.  Getting underway was pretty mundane for us.  Our working hours were much longer, since we added evening hours to the time the window was open for postage sales & stuff.  And we also had to work on the flight deck, loading and unloading mail from planes and helos.  It was not uncommon for us to be sorting mail until well after midnight. 

door source


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I will expand this topic slightly to include the guys - today's inspiring person is YOU !!!!!

All the wonderful things you've done, all the love you've given to your family, all the awesome things you'll do in the future.

YOU are someone to look up to and be admired!


Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for Jr. Lt. Valentina Tereshkova

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Junior Lieutenant Valentina Tereshkova
(1937 - )

Ms. Tereshkova was the first woman in space!

"Valya" was born in Russia and was raised by her mother along with her sister and brother after her father died when she was 2.  Due to helping her mother, she didn't start school until she was 10.

In 1959, she joined the Yaroslavl Air Sports Club and was a skilled amateur parachutist.  She volunteered for the Soviet Space Program where her 126 parachute jumps earned her the rank of Cosmonaut.

After much rigorous training and the usual political BS, on June 16, 1963, Valya was launched into space.  Using callign "Chaika" she reported "I see the horizon. A light blue, a beautiful band. This is the Earth. How beautiful it is! All goes well."  She orbited Earth 48 times over almost 3 days.

photo source

T - Tiger Cruise

My Theme / Timeline

This is one thing I am so grateful I got to do for my parents - I gave them a chance to go one a week long cruise on a aircraft carrier!

We were heading back stateside from the Gulf.  We had offloaded the Air Wing (the crewmembers that work with the different types of planes) so had plenty of berthing space available.  We stopped in Pearl Harbor to pick up the "Tigers".
I was standing with a coworker who also had family on board under the A-6, I believe directly over the E.  The Navy seems to enjoy having crew members (or Tigers in this case) spell out words on the flight deck.  I did this several times while on the Lincoln.

I never knew how much I looked like Mom til I saw this pic!  In the hanger bay - the area under the flight deck for storing planes.  Hence the need for aircraft elevators!
I can only imagine what she was doing/saying to make that guy laugh so hard!   This was in the bridge and she's "driving" the boat.
 Mom & Dad both really liked the E-2C Hawkeyes.  This is an airborne early warning plane.  That's a big radar disc over the fuselage.
For the trip back to Alameda, the days were chock full of tours of the ship, activities and even an air show!  They practiced this before we got to Pearl Harbor, so when they announced that an F-14 was coming in from the left and an F/A 18 was coming in from the right, I was able to tell my parents to plug their ears.  Instead of coming from each side like you would have expected, the 2 planes came from behind - breaking the sound barrier as they went over!

F-14s were my favorite.  They're awesome looking planes.  If you need to know what one looks like up close - just watch Top Gun.   
Dangling peoples!
 2 E-2s 
 demonstrating in-air refueling
 And the whole shebang! 

So they got to experience how we lived and ate and slept for a short time.  It was neat that since Mom & Dad were there, I got out of working so I could spend time with them.  I also got to see places of the ship that normally I'd never have any reason to see.  The bridge where they drive from and control flight operations.  The machinery spaces for the arresting gear to stop the planes on the flight deck.  Where the officers live, etc.

They really enjoyed this trip and they talked about it for years afterward.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

...just keep swimming

Welp, I've posted a loss for the last 3 weeks!  Its looking highly unlikely that I'll make the 12.5 lbs I want to lose by Miss Angela's graduation, but at least I'm headed in the right direction. I can always extend my goal to her grad party in August. I KNOW I'll have it gone by then!

I missed tracking on Saturday, but did decent the rest of the week. And activity was OK.  22 APs. Pretty soon Angel will have her driver's license so I won't have to be the dance shuttle anymore!  That is the biggest time suck of my day.  20 minutes each way and she's there 4 days a week, at least 3-4 hours so I'm not going to stay there!  I can't wait to be able to stay home while she drives herself!
I'm trying to figure out why last Wednesday was so high.  Not complaining, but it's odd. I went to work.  Took the kid to dance.  Went to my WW meeting.  Nothing out of the ordinary. But when I look at the detail of the day it's showing registering a reading from 6am Tuesday, which would be normal, but also all of Tuesday night and Wednesday night up til Midnight.  So I don't know who was wearing my Activelink after I went to bed!  I usually leave it clipped on my bra when I take it off and lay it on the dresser.  So no idea why it was reading anything!

Tonight's meeting topic was supposed to be about turning "why" into "how".  But of course our Fearless Leader always goes off her own way!  She talked about anchors.  Not the things on ships, but "a process of creating cues and triggers to remind yourself of your goals".  

She has things listed like "Fitversary" or your anniversary of joining WW.  Awards.  An event.  Special clothing. 
So I guess I have 2 anchors.  The event of Angel's graduation (or party) and awards.  I proudly wear my WW bling on my purse.  I took it apart to clean the washers, so I used the opportunity to take a pic.  
The keychain was for my 10%.  The silver washer is for 25lbs.  The gold washer for 50lbs.  Those are the good ones.  I consider the others geedunk bling.  The umbrella for the April attendance challenge.  The snowflake for some winter challenge.  The running dude for exercising so many days per week for a month.  The square & 2 sets of clapping hands are for 4 months / 16 weeks on program.  If they'd actually given me all those (and I knew where they were), I'd have......close to 20 of them!  

The plan is to go grocery shopping tomorrow night.  I'm going to make up a better plan of what I'm going to be eating.  During the week days is pretty predictable, but the evenings & weekends are the problem.  And for the next 2 weekends, Miss Angela has dance competitions so I'll be at the mercy of the Dancers Only buffet table.  I'll be sure to grab some 100 calorie packs of almonds or something to keep in my purse so I can avoid the table somewhat and still not starve to death.  All the parents sign up to bring food to share, so I signed up for bananas and fruit like that. 

Wish me luck and wish the kids luck, too!