White Chocolate-Candy Cane Cheesecake

White Chocolate-Candy Cane Cheesecake Recipe – Kraft Recipes.

White Chocolate-Candy Cane Cheesecake recipe

Yum! I love cheesecakes! Any kind of cheesecake! This one sounds perfect for the holidays. The way it’s decorated even reminds me of firecrackers! If you’re good, make one for a present for friends or family. 🙂 If you’re baaaddd then eat it all up yourself! 😉

Lots of people tell me they have a hard time with cheesecakes. I’m not sure why. They’re usually pretty simple to make. I don’t usually even bother with making my own crust. I just use a store bought crust and that makes it even easier to make the cake.

The trick is to beat it enough, that will make it nice and fluffy like the picture here. The other big thing is to use the proper (‘springform’) pan. You need to use the springform pan and make your own crust if you’re making one that is going to be thick!

I have a whole cookbook just for cheesecakes. I love to make them. Now I can find tons more on the internet like this one. 🙂 I only wish I had the time at home to make them (and eat them). Last time I made something like this, I had to throw the whole thing out, I never even got to eat any of it. 😦

Frog in Hot Water

The Tribal Mentality.


Here’s another excellent article from The Dollar Vigilante. It was written by Latin America Editor Adil Elias (check the link, you can read it in English or Spanish). I’ve subscribed to TDV for a while now and I always enjoy reading their articles. I like to hear from all of their writers and enjoy hearing about their adventures.

Sometimes reading a post makes me laugh, sometimes it makes me cry (seriously), sometimes it infuriates me, but it always holds my attention and makes me think.

It usually makes me think about how the HELL did we allow our freedom to disappear? Yes, the foreigners still flock here, they believe our propaganda. And yes, we are better off and more free here than if we lived in Somalia or North Korea. But we have lost SO MUCH. We were once the envy of the world. Now, not so much. 😦

I know what’s happening, it’s like the story about the frog in a pot of boiling water. Throw him in when the waters at room temperature and he’s just fine with it. Turn up the heat very gradually and by the time the water’s hot enough to concern him, it’s too late and we have frog legs for dinner.

That is exactly what has been going on here in America with regards to our freedom. I know in some ways our freedom has been increasing. I can say that about communications for example. In lots of ways, things have improved in the last 100 years. We have telephone, fax, mobile phones, TV, computers, and internet.

All of those things have given us so many choices and improved our lives. Those things have increased our personal liberty. But that same technology is also being used against us in a lot of different ways.

Most people paid no attention to the fact that the US government has been increasingly violating our privacy. Edward Snowden took huge risks to break the news (again, since nobody paid attention any of the other times these spy programs have been reported).

No one had any major problem with the FBI wiretapping criminals, but now the ‘authorities’ capture EVERY SINGLE PHONE CALL from EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US! Same with everything you ever do or ever have done online. Same with tracking everywhere you go and everything you do. Everything you buy and everything you read. What you do at home and who you do it with.

We are living in a world to rival the worst nightmares of George Orwell and Franz Kafka. Yes, seriously! We have the technology, the money and the means to allow ‘our’ leaders to transgress against us in the most invasive ways.

1984 was supposed to be a WARNING, not a road map!!!

Our ‘leaders’ have decided it’s right and proper that they spy on EVERYTHING WE EVER SAY OR DO or even THINK! They are even collecting our DNA!! Of course, it’s all for our ‘own good’.


And do you REALLY want to live in a society where the people ‘in charge’ have access to all that information? To be used for any purpose they desire, to sell it to whoever they feel like, or to use it against us? The way I look at it, it is OUR information, it belongs to US and I did NOT give permission for anyone to use ANY of my information other than the people I specifically give it to.

I do NOT want my location tracked with cameras in every store, bank, street corner, and public place, cel phone triangulation programs and RFID chips! I do NOT want red light cameras, toll booths, license plate scanners, and black boxes (now required to be installed in all new vehicles) tracking every trip I make!

I do NOT want every conversation I make, every comment and keystroke I make, every item I buy, every person I associate with, every book I read, every club I join, every show I watch, etc. recorded and stored for all time!

I do NOT want my medical records spread about the internet for anyone to see, just because some kid with a bug up his ass wants to pay me back. I do NOT want my credit screwed up for years because (even) one bad apple in any of the dozens of companies I deal with abuses my social security number!

I do NOT want to live in a society where people have to think about ANY of these things going in in their lives. I could not call anyplace that did that kind of thing a civilization, it is the complete opposite of a civilized society!

I do NOT want to live in a place where people censor themselves and live in fear of being caught out, violated, spied on and blackmailed over any little thing. That IS what happens when people have no respect for personal privacy. Look at the historical record.

Take a good look at Nazi Germany. Take a good look at the Soviet Union. Take a good look at the Chinese and their Great Leap Forward. There are many, many examples.

I hope you’ll read the article in the link. I really can’t do it justice. I hope you’ll think about what he says about the organization of society and the way our ‘leaders’ function. I hope more and more and more people will think it over and decide to take back their lives and their freedoms from the power hungry thugs who somehow have managed to take over almost the entire world.

We will never have a decent world until we deal with these people. We all deserve to live in a world of peace, prosperity and freedom. I see some signs of change. The internet is a huge help in spreading the word, that YES, it IS possible! Let’s make it happen!!!

Here’s to a new awakening in the new year!

How to Launch a FRC- NOT!!!

One of the things we’re required to do as members of the deck department is to be “proficient in the use of fast rescue craft’. I remember when I first moved to Texas and was taking classes in order to get my AB (able bodied seaman) ticket.

We had to learn about all the lifesaving equipment on board our vessels. We had to learn all the parts of the life boats. What they were called and what they did. We had to learn about what kind of things were required to be kept in the survival craft and how to use them if we had to.

We had to practice launching and recovering the lifeboats. We had to know all the oar commands and practice rowing around the river. We had to practice recovering a man overboard and tending to their injuries. We had to learn about survival techniques and how to deal with any shipboard emergency resulting in leaving the ship.

Our AB tickets used to be good for life. Since the STCW (standards of training, certification and watchkeeping) Convention was passed, we have had to renew our certificates every 5 years (maximum) or we are not allowed to work.

I have to admit, I HATE having to spend my time and money (when I am supposed to be on my vacation) taking these classes over and over and over again! It just infuriates me! Not one of these organizations in charge of making the rules that WE have to live by, that our livelihoods and thus our lives depend on, EVER asks US for any input.

I don’t mind taking a class to actually learn something new. In fact, I enjoy that. Too bad most of these required classes do not do that. They cover things that we all learned (or should have) the first couple of months we ever spent at sea.

Watching this video, I can see why the IMO (International Maritime Organization) thinks more and more and more training is needed. I do have to say, it is embarrassing to watch. It’s sad, really, really sad. 😦


Capt Jills Christmas Card

DC AWAI workshop


I took this photo at the AWAI photography workshop in Washington DC a couple of years ago. I had just got my new camera and was really going crazy taking pictures of EVERYTHING. The people at the hotel must have thought they had a bunch of real weirdos hanging out there. I got a lot of strange looks every time I pulled out my camera and started taking pictures of all my food during breakfast, lunch and dinner. 😉

Merry Christmas from the DS-5

Merry Christmas from the DS-5 (Drillship 5, formerly Deep Ocean Mendocino).

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

DS-5 (formerly Deep Ocean Mendocino)



Sting- Christmas at Sea

Merry Christmas to all my friends and readers! I hope you all have a great Christmas day and a nice holiday. I’m out here working (as usual) for the holidays. I’ve been working nights the last 2 hitches on this ship.

I like working nights. Nights are quieter, tho the work never stops. I hear secondhand a lot of what’s happening on board and around the world. This time of year, it’s already dark by the time I get to the bridge at night and still dark when I leave in the morning. I like to try and see the stars but it’s been pretty cloudy all week.

At least the weather here is not too bad. I feel for the people who are out there working in the North Sea or the Gulf of Alaska. Whoooo! I have to say, I do appreciate the weather in the Gulf of Mexico!

I’m looking forward to waking up for dinner tonight to see what our galley crew has come up with. We are lucky to have a fantastic baker. She really does a great job. 🙂 These photos are actually from last Christmas. I’ll try to get some later for this year.

I was trying to find something to describe how we celebrate Christmas out here. I googled ‘Christmas at sea’ and this video by Sting came up. I really kind of liked both the music and the photography, so I thought I would share it. Check out the link…



Well, we did have quite a feast last night, but I forgot my camera and it was all gone this morning so no pictures. It’s really too bad, the cooks all did a fantastic job, especially considering that we had such a delay getting our groceries on board last week.

I was so impressed with the baking. They made a couple of the cutest little snowmen out of some sort of cake, they had a monkey made out of fruit, they had little birds carved out of apples to sit on top of the salads, they had candles made out of cakes, they had ham, turkey, roast beef, and they had a huge bread bowl baked out of bread and then filled with fresh rolls! OMG!

I could have stuffed myself sick. It’s probably a good thing I had to rush up to watch and could only taste a little bit.

I noticed a few friends I’ve worked with out here also sharing their holidays (on facebook) from their vessels. Everyone seems to have had a pretty good meal at least. 🙂

I was reading my email this morning and I got one from the ‘Old Salt Blog‘ that I follow. I heard I’m not supposed to do this sort of thing, but I don’t know how else to share this other than to cut and paste.

I already had posted the link to Sting’s song (above) but the Old Salt Blog had another video of Sting and also the poem by Robert Louis Stevenson that the songs lyrics were based on.

I can just imagine the conditions he writes about and the video with Stings music goes perfectly with it. I’ve done a little of that kind of sailing. and the poem really brings back some memories. So, forgive me blog world for violating the rules, but here goes…

Christmas at Sea by Robert Louis Stevenson

The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand;
The decks were like a slide, where a seaman scarce could stand;
The wind was a nor’-wester, blowing squally off the sea;
And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only things a-lee.

They heard the suff a-roaring before the break of day;
But ’twas only with the peep of light we saw how ill we lay.
We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a shout,
And we gave her the maintops’l, and stood by to go about.

All day we tacked and tacked between the South Head and the North;
All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no further forth;
All day as cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread,
For very life and nature we tacked from head to head.

We gave the South a wider berth, for there the tide-race roared;
But every tack we made we brought the North Head close aboard.
So’s we saw the cliff and houses and the breakers running high,
And the coastguard in his garden, with his glass against his eye.

The frost was on the village roofs as white as ocean foam;
The good red fires were burning bright in every longshore home;
The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys volleyed out;
And I vow we sniffed the victuals as the vessel went about.

The bells upon the church were rung with a mighty jovial cheer;
For it’s just that I should tell you how (of all days in the year)
This day of our adversity was blessèd Christmas morn,
And the house above the coastguard’s was the house where I was born.

O well I saw the pleasant room, the pleasant faces there,
My mother’s silver spectacles, my father’s silver hair;
And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely elves,
Go dancing round the china plates that stand upon the shelves.

And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me,
Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea;
And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way,
To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessèd Christmas Day.

They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began to fall.
“All hands to loose topgallant sails,” I heard the captain call.
“By the Lord, she’ll never stand it,” our first mate, Jackson, cried.
. . . .”It’s the one way or the other, Mr. Jackson,” he replied.

She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were new and good,
And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood;
As the winter’s day was ending, in the entry of the night,
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.

And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board but me,
As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea;
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.

Know What This Is?


Ha Ha! 🙂

Merry Christmas from the DS-5!

Video: Prelude FLNG Float Out

Prelude FLNG Float Out – Time Lapse Video | gCaptain

Check out this video from gCaptain of Shells Prelude FLNG (floating liquefied natural gas) plant. It was built in the shipyard in Geoje, South Korea and will be headed to work in the Prelude gas fields in Western Australia. Interesting vessel! 🙂

It took a little over a year to build and they’re not expecting it to be operational until 2017. So far, they’re saying it’ll cost around $12 BILLION to build it! Expecting it to work for 25 years, that’s still a LOT of money! Personally, if I had a billion dollars to spend, I would want something to last longer than only 25 years!

People are always griping about how expensive gas is. This kind of cost for the equipment they need to get the basic resource out of the ground is PART of the reason for that.

I thought it was a pretty cool video and the ship itself is another milestone as far as what we are doing offshore around the world. Check out the link and the video! 🙂


She’s Off Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Well, I’m out of here in the morning. Into the wild blue yonder. Or at least the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). I’ve had a longer vacation than I expected, schedule changed at the last minute.

I’m still not really ready to go back to work, but at this point I think I would need to be off for a few months straight to actually be READY to go back. 😉

I’m in New Orleans for the night, or at least a few hours. Usually, I have to get up at 2 AM, so they can come and get me at 3 AM, so we can be at the heliport in Fourchon by 5 AM, so I can sit around drinking coffee and trying to stay upright and keep my eyes open til around 9-10 AM when they get around to putting me on a chopper so I can finally get out to the vessel I’ll be working on.

Lots of people seem to think flying to work in a helicopter is really cool. I guess it might be, the first few times you do it. It is really nice to fly at a lower altitude and see things better then you can in an airplane but I never really liked it a whole lot. It’s noisy, it vibrates a lot, it’s cramped (more then a plane and you can’t get up to go to the restroom!).

I’m used to it now, it’s just part of working offshore to me. I’m just glad when I can finally get out to the vessel and start my real job. It’s like driving to work in traffic, do you enjoy that part? Or you’re just glad to finally get there? Same thing. 😉

crew change by chopper

crew change by chopper

I’m going back to the same rig this time as I was on a couple of weeks ago. I like that. It’s nice to go back where you know people and you’re familiar with how things are done on board. I think my job freelancing is perfect for me since I do get to go back a lot of times to the same familiar vessels, but before I get bored I might get to go to a new one. I also do a few different jobs, so it keeps me on my toes. 😉

A lot of ways they’re all the same, but they all have little differences. It takes a few days to get it all straight. I have the hardest time learning everybodys names. It’s not so bad on a ship, when there are only 18-25 crew, but on a rig there might be 250 people on board! Sometimes you might be working 4 weeks straight with someone and never see them til you go home on the same chopper!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up with this blog once I get out there. I’m sure it will be at least a couple of days before I can catch up on things, so don’t worry if you don’t see me for a while. 😉

I’ll be back! 🙂

Privacy Malpractice

Privacy Malpractice | Laissez-Faire Bookstore.

I’m not sure how many people are aware of this, but once Obamacare (ACA) goes into effect you will have ZERO privacy. ALL your medical records will be out there in cyberspace for anyone who gives a hoot to see (and post it all over the web if they so choose).

Yeah, lots of people tell me that’s a bunch of BS, it’ll never happen. Well, the high ups in the administration have ALREADY said (admitted) that “no one should have ANY expectation of privacy” for their medical records.

In case you’re not aware, a ‘law’ had already been passed a while back that forces your medical providers to transfer all of your medical records to a digital form. This was done supposedly to ensure that people in the hospital could access your records in an emergency or your pharmacist could read your Dr prescription.

Yeah, it’s always for our own good. 😦

Of course, once you put something onto a computer, you have to worry a LOT more about what happens to it. A file cabinet in a locked Drs office IS actually a LOT more secure then any computerized record. Unless, of course, your Dr is willing to violate the ‘law’ for YOU and actually uphold his oath to keep YOUR best interests in mind. He would have to buy some pretty serious privacy software and most Drs are just not going to do that.

Most of them prefer to violate their duty to YOU and instead turn over all your records which SHOULD be private to whatever government goon happens to ask for them!

Now, Obamacare takes that situation and makes it incredibly worse! Now, instead of just having your records in the possession of your personal health care providers, (and your insurance company, and your employer, and whoever those people decide to hand them over to), ALL of your medical information will go into a HUGE government database ‘with NO expectation of privacy”.

I don’t know about you, but I REALLY don’t like the idea of all my medical information floating around in cyberspace for anyone who knows how to hack a computer to play with! Do YOU really want your social security number, your name, age, birthday, address out there? Just THAT information is enough for any identity thief to ruin your life for YEARS if not decades!

Add to that basic information, your ENTIRE medical history! Whenever I bring up a mention of my concern for privacy, so many people spout the statement “if you’re not doing anything WRONG, then you should have nothing to worry about”. REALLY???

Do you REALLY want it publicized all over the internet that you went to see a shrink? had some serious drug/alcohol problems? you’re taking antidepressants? or anti-anxiety meds? or maybe you’d like it spread around that you have some sort of STD like herpes? or AIDS?

The point is, that it is YOUR information and it should be up to YOU where that information winds up and who else gets to see it. It’s bad enough already that it’s going to be seen by your insurance company and your employer! Do you REALLY think those people have YOUR best interests in mind?

Read the article, it has a lot of good points, especially about how to protect yourself. I wish I had better news, but it looks like unless you’re willing to spend a lot of time and effort or go completely off the grid, we are all going to have to get used to living in a fishbowl. 😦

You would think that by now people would KNOW that is incredibly destructive to any kind of civilized society! People have a RIGHT to privacy for good reason!

Corso Zundert

Corso Zundert – Welcome at the website of Corso Zundert!.

A friend sent me an email about this event the other day. I’ve been to the Netherlands (Amsterdam) a couple of times and always had a great time.

me and a friend in Amsterdam

I’ve always wanted to go during the spring to see all the flowers bloom. This event takes place in September, in a town called Zundert. So now you can see the flowers all summer and into fall!

I never even heard of this event (Bloemencorso) until my friend sent me the email (thanks S.!). It’s kind of like our Rose Parade out in California, but they make the floats out of dalias.


Take a look at the link to the website (they do have a flag you can click to get it in English), they’ve done a fantastic job!


5 Sky Events This Week: Moon Poses with Winter Gems and Little Bear Runs With Meteors

5 Sky Events This Week: Moon Poses with Winter Gems and Little Bear Runs With Meteors – News Watch.

Another interesting week in the sky. I tried really hard to watch the Geminid meteor shower last weekend, but it was too cloudy here in Texas. I tried to check it out online, but I couldn’t find anything other than clouds or a few photos. I was hoping for a video from somewhere with clear skies, but I never found one.

Jupiter should be shining bright and easy to spot next week. If you have a telescope, you should even be able to spot Callisto as she crosses Jupiter. Hopefully even I will be able to see Jupiter, if not her moon. The lights are so bright on the rigs I work on, its impossible to see all but the brightest stars most of the time. 😦

Looks like we’ll have another chance to catch a meteor shower too. The Ursid shower probably won’t be anywhere near as good as the Geminid would have been, but it’s something to look forward to.

Next Saturday is the Winter Solstice too, so for all you Pagans out there, I hope you are able to throw some good parties!! 😉

Enjoy the show! Its FREE!! 🙂

6 of The Best Pieces of Advice From Successful Writers

6 of The Best Pieces of Advice From Successful Writers – The Buffer Blog.

Good tips and a good post from Belle Beth Cooper at the Buffer Blog.

I’ve got the first one down…give yourself permission to write like crap and JUST START.

Yeah, no problem with the writing badly, it comes out pretty naturally. My problem is when to stop. I can go on and on. 😉

I think I get the part about ‘write like you speak’ too. I’ve never tried to write in any other way (yet).

Eventually, I think I would like to try to write stories or even a book. I’m hoping by writing posts here on my blog, it will get me some good practice and feedback.

In the meantime I hope I can keep things here interesting and entertaining. 🙂

I do wish I could just put everything else on hold, take the time to just chill out and do some real work on this more artistic side of me. So far, I have not managed to do that. I have so many things going on and so I just do a bit here, a bit there, nothing is ever as good or as finished as I would like it to be.

I wonder how anyone can manage to survive, much less THRIVE in this world we are living in today. How does a person manage to ever take the time to relax enough to just let things happen and do what THEY enjoy?

I am doing my best to work hard, so I can save up, so I can one day take a nice long break to do just that. I have so many things I would like to do with my life and I worry that I’m running out of time. I hate to think that I’ve spent so much of my life just working.

Yeah, I’m lucky that I still do enjoy my line of work. Yes, they HAVE taken MOST of the fun out of it. It would be SO much better if they would stop letting the lawyers and accountants run everything and go back to allowing some common sense out there. But it’s still a better job for ME then I can imagine any other type of work to be.

I just hope one day soon, I can drop out of the ‘rat race’ altogether and spend my time doing what I really want to do, instead of spending so much of it doing what I feel like I HAVE to do.

Maybe the tips in the article will help me become a SUCCESSFUL writer. 🙂

Crock-Pot Apple Pie Moonshine

Ziplist Sous Chef Recipe Clipper – Crock-Pot Apple Pie Moonshine.

Woo-hoo! OK, I have to get a crock pot now! This is one recipe that looks like it’ll be worth it. It’ll have to wait til I get home, but hey, worth a wait.

Or maybe I can start it before I leave and it’ll be almost ready by the time I get back?

If you try it before I get to it. let me know how it goes. 😉

Music Sampler: Song From the Stone

I got my Monthly Music Sampler from Utne Reader a while ago but I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to even look at it til recently. I’ve been trying to catch up on some of my emails and just started looking at some of these samples.

See my earlier post on another song from this months samples (https://captjillsjourneys.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/music-sampler-devil-we-know)

Today’s choice is a song by a group called the PigPen Theatre Company.

This band is a little different.  PigPen IS actually a theatre company, just like their name implies. They put some of their original music in their plays, pretty cool! They just came out with a new album ‘The Way I’m Running’. I think I’ll have to get it. 😉

I listened to this song ‘Song From the Stone’ of theirs from the Sampler and really liked it.

Maybe you will too? Enjoy!

"Song From The Stone" by Pig Pen Theatre Co.


The Grinch Stole Christmas Cookies

The Grinch Stole Christmas Cookies | Sugar Dish Me.

I don’t usually bake much but this recipe meets my requirements of

1. easy to make and

2. tastes great. 😉

I’m going back offshore in just a couple of days so I actually cooked my Christmas dinner tonight. I only just found this recipe so didn’t try it. Instead I made a few of those cookies that you just break off the huge bar and bake for a few minutes.

Next time I get some time, I might try this recipe. I like the whole green grinch thing. 😉

3 Unconventional Ways to Super-Charge Your Savings

3 Unconventional Ways to Super-Charge Your Savings.

This is a link to a post on a blog I follow. The blog is by Paula Pant and is called Afford Anything. Paula is the one who taught us about blogging at the AWAI Boston workshop I went to back in August. She was very helpful to me in getting this blog of mine started.

I am always trying to find ways to save money. My goal is to save enough so I can ‘retire’. I want to move overseas somewhere. Somewhere I can afford to live the way I want to. Somewhere more affordable. Somewhere more free (since we have lost SO much freedom here in the USA). 😦

So I’m always looking for ways to save more money, earn more money, etc. That would help move me further toward my goal. Paula has some good suggestions in her post. I love it that she always encourages us to think outside the box.

I’m not really into budgeting so I agree that putting saving first is a great idea. A lot of financial advisers say the same thing.

If you’re lucky enough to have a 401-K, put at least enough to get the company match in there. It might not be enough to retire on, but it’s a good start. Since you never see it in your checkbook, you’ll never miss it. I always sign up first thing at a new job now. 🙂

Maybe some of you are good at saving? I have to admit, I’m not that great at it. I try and I manage to save a little, but not enough to get me where I want to be. I don’t spend much on clothes, I live in shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops. ALL the time. 😉

I spend my income on vacations. I LOVE to travel. I go somewhere interesting EVERY chance I get! I try to go someplace where there is something in particular I want to learn about. For example, I went to the Freedom Fest in Las Vegas, the AWAI workshops in Chicago, Miami and Boston, the Live and Invest Overseas with International Living in the Rivera Maya Mexico, the Workboat Show in New Orleans.

I took all those trips in the last couple of years. I didn’t spend a TON of money, but it didn’t help my savings plan at all either. 😉

So, according to Paula I need to ‘earn more’!

I’m trying!! OK, to be honest, I hope to find some way to earn some money from this blog. I’m hoping to get my writing and photography out there to the world. Maybe someone will like it enough to be willing to buy some of it from me. 🙂

I’m also doing the same thing Paula is doing with real estate. Very similar at least. I started buying old houses and fixing them up to rent out a few years ago. I like the whole process of hunting down a good deal, improving on what was there, and then meeting all the interesting people that I have to deal with. From the technicians to the tenants, they’re ALL interesting. 😉

I’m glad to learn from Paula that I’m on the right track. She’s been very successful at living her life the way she’s dreamed. I hope to be able to break free and live MY dreams too one of these days. 🙂

Music Sampler: Devil We Know

I got my Monthly Music Sampler from Utne Reader a while ago but I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to even look at it til now. Today I’m trying to catch up on some of my emails and just started looking at some of these samples. I listened to this song ‘Devil We Know’ by Lily and Madeline and liked it. A lot.

Maybe you will too? Enjoy! 🙂

"Devil We Know" by Lily and Madeline


Watch these emus freak out about a ball!

We can’t stop watching these emus freak out about a ball | Grist.

FUNNY video! I don’t know why they don’t like the music. I thought the tango went quite well with the dancing. 🙂 I had a few good laughs watching this. Too bad the batteries died so soon.

Hope you enjoy it too. 😉

Catching Up With Capt Jill

Well, it’s been a little while now since I finished up the November Post-A-Day Challenge (National Blog Posting Month). I needed the break. I actually got home from work the day after Thanksgiving (and missed the big feast). 😦

As usual it took me a few days to catch up on everything.

First couple of days wasted just trying to catch up on SLEEP. I hate switching over from 6-6 nights! It’s SO hard this time of year, both mentally and physically. Never see the sun, no one is awake at home, never get your body in tune with your meals and sleep schedule, etc.

Since I’m home and finally have a chance to get caught up, I thought it might be a good time to write a little about who I am, what I do and what I’m hoping to do with this blog.

OK, so, here goes… I work as a merchant mariner (Merchant Navy for the Brits). For those of you who don’t really know what that means, it’s simply someone who works on a commercial vessel. Anything from small ferries, fishing vessels, to the largest VLCC or drillships. Usually work is in one of 3 departments: deck, engine, or stewards.

I grew up on the water and started working for my father when I was very young. He had an old sailboat that he used as a commercial fishing vessel for a while and he used to make me go out with him. I HATED it!!!

As soon as I could, I got a job down the street on one of the party boats (head boats). I would go out with them on the weekends. I had a great time on those boats. I worked mainly in the galley (kitchen). I sold the passengers sandwiches and drinks.

Sometimes I helped the deckhands with the passengers. I would help them bait hooks, untangle lines, get the fish off their lines, string them up and put them on ice. When we got to the dock at the end of the day, I would help clean up the boat and get everything ready for the next trip. Maybe clean and fillet some fish for tips. I was doing pretty good for a kid and plenty to live on but I wanted to do more.

Way back then (sarcasm), the commercial fishing fleet was where it was at! The fishermen could go out for a week and come back fully loaded. Flush with cash, they were living the good life.It was wild! I wanted some of that too! But, of course, I was a girl. Not possible, or so they said. 😦

I tried to get a job on some of the better boats. The ones who consistently brought in a good catch and treated their crews well. I got nowhere with that. I tried and tried and couldn’t find much of anything.

I finally did go out with a friend. It was a horrible trip for a lot of reasons. We did manage to catch fish but that was the only good part of it. I might go into all that at some later point, but for now, just say that was the turning point for me. I was fed up with everything going on around that place and sick of my life. Everything I wanted to do, I was told was impossible, cause “girls can’t do that”. 😦

To cut this short, I was getting into a lot of things I probably shouldn’t have. What finally happened was that I was very lucky (tho I didn’t know that at the time) and was offered the chance to completely change my life.

I went off to school with the Oceanics and never really looked back. I may not have known at the time, but I was hooked from the minute I got off the plane in Athens and was smuggled from the airport to the hostel we stayed at in the back of a bread truck.

We spent a few months sailing around the world on traditional sailing ships. Studying things like seamanship, navigation, celestial navigation, oceanography, cultural studies, Greek, Russian, Spanish, etc. Part of our day was always spent working on the ship while we were aboard.

I learned to LOVE it! I decided before I came home that I wanted to be a ship captain and sail around the world (and get paid for it). 🙂

My grandmother was really upset! Before I went away to school, I had planned to be a doctor. She never forgave me for changing my plans. I’m sure I made the right choice, even if she never thought so. 😉

The woman who ran the school was such a great help to me (and many others). She set me up in a school in Texas where I could get started toward my goal. A small Jr College in a small town, you would never expect to find such a great deal here.

I moved to Texas to join the Ocean Marine Technology program at Brazosport College in 1978. I managed to complete the 2 year program in only 5 years! I switched from fishing to working in the oil field and now work in all kinds of different areas offshore. Lately as a DPO (dynamic positioning operator).

In school, I learned to work in both the deck and engine departments (and could work stewards dept if I wanted). In the Gulf of Mexico it gets really HOT in the summer! I was working on small boats: crew boats, production boats, standby boats. Their engine rooms were small, smelled strongly of diesel fuel, and HOT all the time! I regret it now, but I never stuck with the engine department. I never even tested for my QMED. 😦

I still had my sights set on becoming a ship captain one day. I fought hard for a long time to get the sea time I needed to work my way up. I’ll get into that some other time. I finally managed, just a couple of years ago, to get my unlimited masters license (whoo hoo!!).

Now, I work freelance. I work mostly for a couple of temp agencies. I like it since it gives me a chance to ‘try before I buy’. It’s also nice to see how different companies run things, to see the different vessels and meet different people.

One of the best things about working freelance is that I can pretty much make my own schedule. One of the bad things is, if there is no work, I’m stuck at home with no money. Too bad I never know beforehand. 😦

When I went back to freelancing a couple of years ago, I took the opportunity to catch up and do a lot of things I’d been wanting to do but never could (since I was always offshore when they happened). I went to a few classes and conferences, I took a couple of nice long vacations. It was great! Til the work slowed down and I wasn’t able to get right back to work when I was ready to. 😦

Now, I’m having a big debate in my mind. Should I stick with freelance? Or, should I go back and get a regular, permanent job again? It’s SO nice to be able to take the time off when I need it, but things are changing a lot with new rules and regulations and the temp agencies are not really keeping up with all that.

I have so many things I’d like to be doing when I’m NOT working. I’ve been trying for a long time to work less and spend more time doing what I like. I’d retire now if I could afford it and I’m working hard towards being able to do that. I have a couple of side businesses.

One is vending machines. I thought that was a great idea. A way for me to slowly work up to having enough income to be able to stop sailing all the time. That didn’t work out for me. I still think it’s a good plan IF I had the time to go find good placements for my machines.

One is real estate. I’m a slumlord like my father was. 😉 No, just kidding. I buy old, run down properties (cheap) and fix them up to rent them out. I started out just buying a place on the water to put a boat (that’s another story). I bought a nice beach house but then wound up renting it out. I’m actually in the process at the moment of fixing it all up again. Hoping to find some new tenants soon. 🙂

I met a really great Realtor while in the process of getting that house and she’s been helping me ever since. I’ve got a few properties now and they do keep me busy while I’m home.

I love to read, I’ve always got a book in my hand! I’ve just finished ‘Half the Sky’, a very good book but kind-of depressing. It’ll stir you up, but then has suggestions for what YOU can do to work off that anger you felt while reading. Right now I’m reading something different,  ‘Choose Yourself’ by James Altucher (who has a blog I also follow).

I like to go to local events like the beach cleanup I wrote about earlier or the JaGa Fest for the great reggae music. That’s where I took those fireworks photos (https://captjillsjourneys.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/weekly-photo-c…ight-celebrate), or the Biker and Blues Fest I plan on doing a post on (soon).

I love to go sailing. I joined a local club called Sail-La-Vie and go out with them when I can. It’s always a lot of fun. I also started my own meetup group, called Mariners Meetup. It’s a way for us old salts to get out and about, do something other then just hang around the house watching TV.

I try to keep up with politics, I’m into FREEDOM and trying my best to keep from losing any more of it here. If I’m home I go to the Campaign for Liberty meetings every Tuesday night. We have a bunch of projects we’re working on like our community garden (on hold for winter) and movie night. Last week we were talking about alternative energy and how to get off the grid.

I LOVE to travel (yes, eventually I will get around to posting some travel posts- I promise!). I like to write and take pictures, and enjoy going to workshops about that kind of thing. In fact, that’s how I started this blog.

I went to the AWAI travel writing/photography workshop in Boston back in August and they had a little bit about blogging. I started this blog right before I went up there so I could ask lots of questions and hopefully learn how to make a good blog. Actually, I heard that you could earn money from blogging and I wanted to learn how to do THAT!

So far, I haven’t learned how to do that. 😦 I’m still trying to figure that part out. If you noticed, I put a link to Amazon down towards the bottom right. I haven’t figured out how to make that work properly tho. It’s supposed to be an Amazon blog and show the posts, but all it shows is the link to 4-5 different links on Amazon. Maybe some of you know what I’m doing wrong and can help me? 😉

I am trying to improve all the time. On here and in real life. 🙂 Now you know what I do when I’m working and when I’m home. Now you know why sometimes I don’t feel like posting for a little while. I do really enjoy it, but sometimes I just get run down. I don’t want this to wind up feeling like a chore, like something else I HAVE to do.

I hope I can keep this interesting and entertaining for all of us for a long time. Thanks for visiting me. 🙂