Sunday, July 31, 2011

Stuff My Brain Says #17

I find it amazing that people choose to ride around on motorcycles (or scooters) with only helmets for protection. Apparently their head is the only thing they find of value: who cares what happens to the rest of the body if there is an accident!

What do they think? If their body gets destroyed in an accident that their head can be frozen and saved? You know, maybe have it end up in a jar like on Futurama?

© Emittravel 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Moment of Realization - of Becoming

The following is from my personal journal:
July 13, 2011 - Starlight Café, Bath, ME - Had a crabmeat and spinach quiche. I know that "real men don't eat quiche", but I had the opportunity to have crabmeat in it. And everybody knows, crabmeat is the other, other white meat.

After a terrific tour of Bath Iron Works, via a trolley from the Maine Maritime Museum, we had about a half-hour conversation with the tour guide. The tour guide was a retired engineer who worked on my ship - USS Elrod, FFG-55 - back during my early naval career. We had about a half-hour conversation together after the tour. Later, while Lisa and I were in the gift shop, we could here him telling others that there is a plankowner from the Elrod here. Way cool!

We went to Café Crème to have something to drink and snack. Very tasty. From there we went to the Kennebec River and sat on a bench and absorbed the atmosphere. Then we went to the local IGA for some wine and cheese and watched as a rainstorm came through. I did a fast walk to the other side of town for the Jeep. We decided to go back to the hotel to clean up and change clothes.

Dinner was at the Osprey - delicious. Great clam "chowdah"! Lisa had a lobster roll and I had seafood fettuccini (lobster, mussels, scallops, shrimp - oh yeah!)

After dinner we went for a drive and enjoyed as the evening set in. We found ourselves at the "end" of Bath along the Kennebec as the sun set.

Lisa and I had a conversation while sitting alongside the Kennebec River and why a place like this for me, or for her Kent State University, has such meaning. The Kennebec is just a river. I'm no lifetime sailor. I have no connection to the sea as some do. And yet I'm drawn here.

My life completely changed when I got to Bath, ME back in 1985. I left San Diego, CA, went home for about two weeks on leave (vacation), and then met the ship in Bath. I arrived, met the ship, and immediately was sent to Norfolk, VA to meet the crew. You have to understand, the Elrod was a brand-new ship. We were the original (a.k.a. "plankowner") crew. There is something special about being the first crew to take a ship out to sea. But at the beginning, while she was still being prepared, living quarters on the ship weren't ready. The crew was gathering in Norfolk to prepare, and that is where I went.

After a couple of short weeks we flew back to Maine to meet the ship. Once we took possession of her we left Bath via the Kennebec River and met the outskirts of a hurricane. After being tossed around for awhile (it was such fun! I saw a chair lift off the deck and flew over against a bulkhead [wall]. In actuality, the ship dropped and leaned so quickly the chair was left in midair, where the bulkhead came to it. Someone immediately said, "Someone want to tie that thing down?") the ship went to New Jersey for our ammo, a quick stop in Brunswick, GA for the commissioning ceremony, and then to Charleston, SC - our home port.

You see, the Kennebec represents a transition for me. Traveling down the river on the Elrod was a symbolic moment where I left "childhood" and entered "adulthood". Leaving home and going to San Diego, CA was not the same. Sure, there was boot camp, Radioman "A" School, and Morse Code School, but it was still school. When I got to the Elrod I was told, "You just get out of school? Well, forget what you learned; we're going to teach you how to be a Radioman." I learned how to be independent yet part of a team/family. I moved on and became a man. The river represents that "becoming" to me. And coming back to it floods my personal banks with emotion - overwhelms me.

I've half-jokingly said that when I die I want to be cremated and have my ashes deposited in the Kennebec. I guess I find that river a symbol for another major transition as well.

© Emittravel 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stuff My Brain Says #16

One of my favorite breakfast items is French Toast. Maybe it's the syrup. Maybe it's the "Bacon. Crisp." I order with it. You know, the sweet and salty mix. Like a breakfast trail mix.

I've had French Toast with white bread, wheat bread, Texas toast, ciabatta bread, Italian bread, and even a Jewish bread that I can't remember the name of. But the one type of bread I've never had for French toast is French bread. Not a single restaurant I've ever been to (and I've been to quite a few in my time) has ever even OFFERED French bread for French Toast.

So, is it REALLY French?

(Please pass the syrup while you think about that!)

© Emittravel 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Stuff My Brain Says #15

Something you see when you don't have a camera with you:

While in a bookstore, in one of the aisles is a huge section of cookbooks. Right down from it, in the same aisle, is a section on health and dieting. Ah, the irony! I guess you'd call that "good marketing"!

© Emittravel 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stuff My Brain Says #14

One thing I've noticed while traveling is the lack of bathroom scales. Think about it, whenever you are looking online for a hotel for your stay, do you ever notice under the amenities that none of them say, "Bathroom Scale"? I'm just sayin'. . .

© Emittravel 2011

A little off the top please . . . while I add to my bottom . . .

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stuff My Brain Says #13

Someone needs to explain to my why it is okay for Ohio Governor John Kasich to raise his staff's salaries without permission of the very taxpayers who pay their salaries, but demands that public-sector unions not be allowed to negotiate raises because those are doled out without the taxpayers' permission. Sounds contradictory to me!

Oh, I got it: the increases were offset by cutting the salaries of receptionists, and administrative assistants! Yeah, that makes it all better.

Maybe the way to get Ohio out of its financial slump is to give Governor Kasich and his staff a much-larger pay raise.

Better yet: they talk merit pay for teachers? How about merit pay for politicians? Fix the economy first, and THEN we'll let you have a pay raise.


© Emittravel 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stuff My Brain Says #12

According to a recent study, pollution in Asia is causing global warming to slow down. Really? So, are they saying that the solution to global warming is to drive your SUV over to the factory and crank that sucker up? Must be keeping members of the EPA awake at night. . .

© Emittravel 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Everyone Has a Story

My wife and I took a ride from our home in Seven Hill, Ohio to Painesville with the main intention of eating at a distant Waffle House. Half the fun in doing this was the ride itself. We take as many back roads as the GPS will point us to, which brings us through some interesting and lovely visuals.

On the ride we came across an extremely crowded cemetery. We're talking literally standing-room-only due to the lack of space for new graves. One thing struck me: each gravestone represented a life. A family. A story. Each was a monument of silence. And then it hit me: what story am I telling? The bible says we are "living epistles (letters) read of all men".  When people look at me what are they reading? Will anyone remember "reading" it?

I have no children to carry on a legacy. I write a journal with the hopes that my nieces, and eventually their children, will take the time to actually read it. But that's it. I wonder if anyone will be at my bedside during my last moments. What's my story?

What about you? If you haven't, take a moment and think about this. One day you too will be represented by a piece of stone.  What story have you told?

© Emittravel 2011